A reflection on the Beatitudes
By Andrew Boyd
Reconciliation means a coming back together, an opportunity to repair our broken relationships with God and others which have been caused by our sinfulness. Sin is simply a failure to love. Sin causes the breakdown in that covenant of love we share with God and others. As we prepare for Easter, we can prepare our hearts by following Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are invitations to discipleship and communion of life with Jesus. They summarize the moral life we as followers of Jesus must strive to live.
To comprehend how the poor, the sorrowing, the meek, and the persecuted can be considered blessed requires a substantial shift in our perspective. It is certainly not the perspective promoted by our social conditioning. It is the wealthy who are thought blessed; it is those with power and influence who are judged fortunate.
“BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR WHAT IS RIGHT, THEY SHALL BE SATISFIED.”
In our society, the poor are considered a drain on the economy and an all-round embarrassment. The meek, the marginalized, and the down-and-out are the people who get stepped on or left out. Those who show mercy are often categorized as weak-minded; those pure in heart are considered naive.
We do ourselves a disfavor if we do not hear the Beatitudes at a deeper level. When we are poor in spirit, we are more open to the movement of grace in our lives. When we are meek, we are more inclined to see both sides of an argument. When we mourn, we better appreciate and enjoy happiness. When we hunger and thirst for justice, we are more likely to be motivated to pursue opportunities to advance the just treatment of all people. When we are pure of heart, God’s loving actions are more clearly in evidence all around us. When we show mercy, we reveal a gracious and forgiving heart. When we stand up for what we believe, for righteousness, despite outside pressures, we demonstrate strength of character and integrity.
Our challenge is to become truly blessed. Our becoming blessed requires repentance for our sinfulness and a conversion of heart. In identifying our sinfulness, we can become reconciled to God and to neighbor. In identifying our sinfulness we can remove the darkness from within that prohibits us from thirsting for justice, mercy, compassion and love.
Andrew Boyd is a seminarian of the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He will be ordained to the priesthood in June of this year.