God Implanted in us a desire for
Happiness, Eternal Happiness. In
Truth, the Things of this World - Money, Athletic or
Scholarly Achievement, Fame, Possessions - can never
Satisfy the hungry Heart we all possess.
Only God, God's Goodness
and Love, can quench our thirst for Happiness.
Jesus teaches us what we have to do right now to develop the kind of Attitudes that lead
to Happiness, even in this life. Think of the
Beatitudes as Jesus taught us as Attitudes
for Happiness. They will require us to change our lives. But the payoff?
"Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (verse 3)
Spiritual Poverty recognizes that all we have and
all we are is a Total Gift from God. We are
Totally Dependent on God, a Good and
Loving God, Who is in charge of the Universe
and of Our Lives. We should not Horde what we have been given as
Gifts. Rather, we should use our Talents,
Intelligence, Possessions, and the like
to Help others.
"Blessed are they who Mourn,
for they will be Comforted" (verse 4)
Those who Mourn know how little they are without
God. In their Sorrow, they will be
Comforted. But their Sorrow helps them see the many around them who are
much worse off - the Poor, the Abused, the
Hungry, the Discriminated Against, the
Victims of Crime and
War and Disease and
Prejudice. Their Sorrow can move them to lend a helping-hand to those who
Suffer and be Jesus'
Instrument of Comfort to them.
"Blessed are the Meek,
for they will inherit the Land" (verse 5)
The "Meek" are Gentle People, not
Pushy, Self-Centered, or
Controlling. In Humility, they treat
others with utmost Respect, Understanding,
and Compassion. They do not Gripe when Hurting or
when they are Ridiculed for their Beliefs. Rather, they identify with the Lord Who
Suffered Wrongs Patiently
and with Forgiveness in His Heart. They are
Good Stewards of God's Good Earth, treating Creation with
Joyful and Gentle Gratitude. They will inherit the Earth.
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for Righteousness,
for they will be Satisfied" (verse 6)
Jesus' Followers must have High Ideals and Goals and not be satisfied with Mediocrity.
The Highest Ideal of all is to desire above all else to put
God's Righteous Will into action and then work unceasingly with His Help
to grow in Holiness, Justice, and
Truth. Part of striving to do God's Will
is to realize that God teaches that we Prove our
Love for Him by taking care of each other,
as Mother Theresa of Calcutta put it, "by doing something beautiful for God".
Blessed are the Merciful,
for they will be shown Mercy" (verse 7)
God has shown us Profound Compassion by
Loving us into existence, by Forgiving our
Sins, by giving us the Lord Jesus to
Die so that we might Live. As Disciples of
Jesus we must Forgive others, without strings attached, even our
Enemies. We must stop holding Grudges. We
must stop harping on the Faults of those who have
Hurt us. We must genuinely Care for others by showing
True Compassion, as Jesus did when
He Died on the Cross for
everyone, even the person standing next to us who may have Hurt us. If we give
Mercy, God will be sure to be
Merciful to us as well.
"Blessed are the Clean of Heart,
for they will see God" (verse 8)
Those who are Clean of Heart are Single-Hearted, undivided in their
Loyalties, without Fakery or
Pretense. They put on the Mind and
Heart of God, looking on others with the
eyes of Jesus, accepting them as Brothers and Sisters, persons of incomparable
Inner Beauty and Worth. The
Pure of Heart know what is really important - closeness to the
Lord Who alone can satisfy their Inner Longings for Love and
Understanding. The Clean of Heart will not
allow anything - Wealth, Fame, various Pastimes, Job, Academic Achievement, the Opinions of Others - sway them from what is really
important, seeing God in others and responding to them as another
Christ, an Alter Christus.
"Blessed are the Peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God" (verse 9)
Since we are all God's children, it is stupid to
Fight and Quarrel and cause
Dissension. This only tears-down the Human Family. Rather, we are called to side with the
Prince of Peace, to work to settle Disputes, to root out
Violence, to Forgive and show
Compassion. We are to be those who Unite, not those who
Divide; those who Cooperate,
not those who Compete; those who
Build Bridges, not those who Erect Walls. The
Risen Lord says, "Peace be with you"
(John 20:19). His Followers have the same message.
"Blessed are they who are Persecuted for the sake of Righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (verse 10)
The Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, once said,
"No Cross, no Crown". To stand up for what is right, especially in the face of
Mockery, Rejection, and Verbal and even
Physical Abuse, is to stand with Jesus Christ
and help Him carry His
Cross. Jesus never Promised us a Rose
Garden; He did Promise us Eternal
Happiness United to the Blessed Trinity.
At times we might have to Pay the Price of our Convictions, even to the point of
Paying with our lives. But for Christians, the
Cross is not a Sign of Defeat. It is the
ultimate Sign of Victory, of life with Our Lord and Savior
Jesus. To be willing to stand with Him guarantees that
He will never abandon us.