Someone once prayed, “We have no portrait of you, Lord, but in the Beatitudes you show us your interior landscape, the source of your joy.” The Beatitudes are not a set of regulations, but a vision of where true happiness lies.
If you think about it, Jesus lived every one of the ‘blesséds’. Just list them, notice how he might have lived them himself. He was merciful, pure in heart (single-minded), a peacemaker. All the others find space in his life. Note them as you read the gospel and in your prayer. Jesus knew each of the Beatitudes from the inside out. He knew just where the blessing and presence of God may be found.
I love the story of a child was once asked for a definition of a saint. She said ‘A stained glass window!' Asked why, she explained, ‘The different colours let in the light and every saint is a different colour of God.' Every one of our unknown saints coloured God in a new way in his or her corner of the globe. We are grateful for the lives of so many people of every age, church and century who have lived their lives as best they could within the vision and spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What the world sees as tragic or empty, Jesus sees as blessed: humility, mourning, gentleness, peacefulness and other virtues. Jesus lived by these qualities himself and we can notice them in his words and actions during his life with us on earth. He could encourage us to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes because he himself lived them and knew that a life of integrity and honesty is indeed a blessed life.
Easy to recite these ‘blesséds’ as a sort of mantra yet in a real sense these are the vision statement of Jesus. All who live according to his way of life are – and will be – richly blessed.
Spend some time today allowing these blessings to come home to you. Imagine Jesus carefully speaking them to you, aware of you poverty, sadness and hunger.
As we live with difficulties, may we seek to hear Jesus speaking the Beatitudes to us as I encounter them.
Lord, I confess that sometimes I choose to focus on the negatives, instead of focusing on what you’ve called me to focus on. Help me take the words of Philippians 4:8 to heart. In every moment of every day, help me focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, so that my attitude may reflect and honour you. As I practice shifting my perspective, keep my heart from growing cold or bitter. Teach me to remember that I am not a slave to my negative emotions. Because of your Spirit, I can tell those emotions to be removed and turn my eyes to the things of you, instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.