Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
MONDAY, June 7th Mt. 5: 1-12 “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”
- Jesus’ introduction to what has come to be called “The Sermon on the Mount” is to give us Eight Beatitudes – the Roadmap to Heaven!
- If we sincerely make every effort to put these into practice, when we die Jesus will say to us, “Welcome home, my good and faithful friend!” Did He not say at the Last Supper, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (Mt. 15:14)
THE BEATITUDES: ATTITUDES OF THE HEART OF JESUS by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
THE PREACHING OF JESUS AT HIS BEST. Our meditation/contemplation will be on the preaching of Jesus. In fact you might even present as the heart of His preaching the Sermon on the Mount, which can be found in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Mt. 5, 6, and 7. However, the focus of this meditation is Jesus’ preaching of the EIGHT BEATITUDES and their promises. (Mt. 5:1-12) Pope Saint John Paul II stated: “The Beatitudes are a mirror into the Heart of Jesus.” If you sincerely want to have a glimpse into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His most sublime virtues, then enter into the Beatitudes. That will be our meditation, our contemplation, and our challenge— to really get to know Jesus more intimately, love Him more ardently, be motivated to follow Him more closely, bring others to Him, and last, but by no means least, to become like Him. Until in the words of Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
FIRST BEATITUDE: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Jesus lived what He preached starting out with this first Beatitude. Jesus was rejected before He was born – “there was no room for them at the inn”. (Lk. 2:7) His birth was in a poor stable in Bethlehem. He worked a hard and demanding job as a Carpenter. Once He left home, He had no fixed abode as He Himself said: “The foxes have their holes and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Lk. 9:58) For three years Jesus lived relying and depending totally on His Father’s Divine and Providential care. He died rejected on the cross, stripped of His garments and of His dignity. Finally, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Jesus truly lived poverty, detachment, and total trust in God. What about us? Have we become a slave of things? Have we allowed our possessions to possess us? Are we attached to persons, places, things, opinions, circumstances, even our own way of thinking and mode of living? There is a lot here. What are we attached to? Let us examine our life and pray over this Beatitude!
SECOND BEATITUDE: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Three times we see Jesus weeping in His Public life. The first, over the city of Jerusalem: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Mt. 23:37) The second, at the death of His friend Lazarus, with Mary and Martha: “Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” (Jn. 11:35-36) The third, in the Garden of Gethsemane, entering into His Passion. This is recounted in the Letter to the Hebrews: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Heb. 5:7) What profit can be derived from weeping? Our Lady of Lasalette (France) wept for the sins of the people. Our Lady of Syracuse (Sicily) wept. Our Lady of Akita (Japan) wept tears of blood for the sins of the people. Saint Monica wept profuse tears for the conversion of her wayward son, who became the great Saint and Doctor of the Church—Saint Augustine. Therefore, pray over this Beatitude and weep, most especially for your own personal sins, for the sins of wayward family members, and for the sins of the world at large. “Be converted, because the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)
THIRD BEATITUDE: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land.”
Meekness is not weakness, but rather powerful emotion under control. Often meekness is translated or understood as the virtue, so necessary, of PATIENCE!!! Once again we contemplate the infinite patience of Jesus at all times and places. His patience with His faulty and flawed Apostles. His patience with the Pharisees constantly attacking Him. His patience with the many sinners who came to Him. Most especially, His patience in His Passion, carrying the cross, now stumbling and falling, now getting up again. His patience and mercy toward His enemies: “Father, forgive them, for the do not know what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:34) Let us contemplate Jesus and beg for true meekness of heart. “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart line unto thine.” Let us pray for patience with God and His dealings with us; patience with others, especially family members; and patience with ourselves. Never give in to discouragement. When we fall, get up! Nunc Coepi—Now I will begin again. Even if I should fall a thousand times a day, a thousand times I will get up again and say Nunc Cœpi–Now I begin.” (Ven. Bruno Lanteri, Founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary)
FOURTH BEATITUDE: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness or holiness, for they will be satisfied.”
Jesus is the holy of holiness—meaning, the whole life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a model and pattern of resplendent and perfect holiness—a pattern to follow, to imitate. Jesus wants us to be holy, to become a great saint! Later, Jesus issues an imperative command: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” (Mt. 5:48) What Jesus commands, He will give the grace and power to carry out. But we must beg fervently, frequently, and full of faith for the grace to be holy. Then in all of our words, actions, and intentions have Jesus always before our eyes. One of the most famous books ever written is precisely that: The Imitation of Christ!!! Beg the saints for the grace to live out this wonderful but challenging Beatitude. May the prayer of the Psalmist be yours and mine: “As the deer yearns for running streams, so my soul longs for you, O Lord my God.” (Ps 42:1) May we hunger and thirst for God and for holiness above any other person, place or thing in our lives!!!
FIFTH BEATITUDE: “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”
Once again, Jesus is our sublime and supreme model in His preaching and in His life-style. A few of His teachings on the importance of mercy:
- “Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36)
- “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Mt. 6:12 – the Our Father)
- “I tell you anyone who is angry with a brother will be subject to judgment. Leave your gift and first be reconciled to your brother and then offer your gift.” (Mt. 5:22-23)
- “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:24 – the first words of Jesus as he hangs from the cross.)
Of course the most sublime example of mercy shown by Jesus, as mentioned above, was when He hung from the cross, basically an open and gaping wound: “Father forgive, them for they know not what they are doing.” Scourged, crowned with thorns, spat upon, insulted, abandoned by His best friends, and even apparently by His Heavenly Father, what does Jesus do? He forgives them from the depths of His Pierced Heart! What a sublime example of love, compassion, forgiveness, and especially this Beatitude of MERCY!!!
YOUR OWN LIFE AND MERCY. Dig into the depths of your heart and be sincere, honest, and transparent. How many times have you been willing in your life to forgive? Beg now for the grace to forgive all those who have hurt you, and beg for the grace to reject resentment from these hard feelings that militate against living out this Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” Saint Ignatius gives us the secret to achieve this: Agere Contra, meaning act against. Act against your resentment and hard feelings by praying daily for the persons who have hurt you in your life, even if you don’t feel like it. This is not hypocrisy, it is heroic virtue. God’s grace will do the rest!
SIXTH BEATITUDE: “Blessed are the clean of heart (pure of heart) for they will see God.”
A most challenging virtue and disposition of heart and soul to live. Jesus is our model always and at all times! Jesus’ eyes, mind, heart, soul, body, and even His intentions were always most pure and focused on the Face of the Eternal Father. The will of Jesus was to carry out the will of His Heavenly Father. Our Lady of Fatima said with sadness that most souls are lost as a result of impurity—breaking the 6th and 9th Commandments. Look into your inner being, your life past and present, and humbly beg for purity. Beg for purity of eyes, ears, body, mind, heart, soul, and even purity of intention. In the words of Saint Paul: “Whether you eat or drink do all for the honor and glory of God.” (1Cor. 10:31) Call to mind the motto of Saint Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises: A.M.D.G.—All for the honor and glory of God. Finally, in the words of Saint Paul again: “You have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus; therefore, glorify God in your bodies!” (1 Cor. 6:20) Our bodies are the Temples of the living God! May we use them in all times and places to glorify God. In closing, turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary and consecrate yourself to her most pure and Immaculate Heart: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!” Take the thorns from her Heart and crown her Heart with beautiful roses—the rose petals of purity of heart, mind, body, and soul!!!
SEVENTH BEATITUDE: “Blessed are the peace-makers for they will be called the children of God.”
Lift your eyes to Jesus and beg for the grace to live out this Beatitude that refers to peace! The Prophet Isaiah called Jesus the Prince of Peace. Jesus would greet the Apostles with the word: SHALOM meaning—PEACE BE WITH YOU!!! Upon the birth of Jesus, the angelic choir sang: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of good will.” Upon appearing to the Apostles in the Upper Room that first Easter Sunday night, Jesus addressed the Apostles in these words: “Shalom! As the Father sends me so I send you.” And He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven, and whose sins you hold bound, they will be held bound.” (Jn. 20:21-23) A key Sacramental interpretation of this beatitude is the following: to be a true peace-maker, we must first be at peace with God by renouncing sin and our sinful patterns. For we will never be at peace with others while we are at war with God and within ourselves! How can this be done? Most clearly by forming the habit of frequent, well-prepared, and well-made Sacramental Confessions. What beautiful and consoling words from the priest: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Your sins are forgiven, go in PEACE!!!” Meditate upon this Beatitude and examine your habit of Confession and the quality of your confessions. There likely is need for improvement!!! May Our Lady, Queen of Peace come to our aid!!!
EIGHTH BEATITUDE: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
Once again, clearly not only did Jesus teach this but He lived it to the highest degree of perfection. Not only was Jesus persecuted, He went through the most bitter Passion, suffering and death on the cross. All of this is a most sublime teaching of the Beatitude on PERSECUTION. As the Acts of the Apostles states: “Jesus went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38) Despite His kindness, and all the good He did—His love for the poor, the sick, the suffering, the marginalized, the forgotten and neglected, even the little children, the orphans and widows—still Jesus was nailed to the cross. Therefore, if we really live out the first Seven Beatitudes, our reward is the Eighth: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Indeed, if you are really and truly living out the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then you will experience some form of persecution. It might be at work, or in your extended family, or even in your immediate family, maybe even from your spouse and children. Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace but war, especially in the family. Family members will be divided because of their allegiance and love for Jesus the Lord. We cannot serve money and God, nor the world and God. They are diametrically opposed. Jesus must be our alpha and omega, our principle and end, our purpose and meaning in life. Jesus has to be the ardent and constant desire of our heart. Who were those who really lived out this last Beatitude to the highest degree? Obviously this would be the class that we call the MARTYRS—a word meaning witness. They gave the most eloquent witness to their love for the Lord Jesus by imitating Jesus in shedding their blood for Him! “No greater love exists than to give one’s life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:30)
May this serious and deep meditation on the Beatitudes spur you on with every fiber of your being to get to know Jesus more fully, love Him more ardently, follow Him more closely, so as to bring others to Him more frequently, and live out the words of Saint Paul related to our transformation in Christ: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
Biographical notes: Pope Francis in Gaudete et Exultate has left an excellent commentary on the Beatitudes, Chapter Three, Numbers 63-109. Also, the modern author, preacher and Retreat Director, Jacques Phillipe, has written a book on the Beatitudes. Great resources for our spiritual life and growth!
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary / St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA