What does the catechism of the Catholic Church say about the Beatitudes? There are two
numbers in the catechism, number 1716 and 1717.
1716 : The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory but to the kingdom of Heaven.
1717: The Beatitudes depict of the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray His charity.
They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of His passion and resurrection. They shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life. They are paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations. They proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured however dimly for Christ’s disciples. They have begun in the lives of Virgin Mary and all the saints.
The Beatitudes depict of the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray His charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of His passion.
Remember this is a result of the Second Vatican Council document Apostolicam Actuositatem which then becomes even more highlighted and underlined, and enhanced in the document Christifideles Laici on the role of the apostolate of lay persons. It is essential, your role. It is not just because there are less vocations that your role is more important than before. It is because it is the time where the Holy Spirit wants this role. The Church doesn’t need friars, the Church doesn’t need nuns, and the Church doesn’t need seculars.
The Church needs what we have to offer. The Church needs the witness of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross. The Church needs that spirituality. The world needs that spirituality. The world needs what we have to offer, to the extent that we do not offer it, we are useless to God. We are useless to God to the extent that we do not offer what He has given us in our vocation. This commitment that we have made, you through the promise, I through the vows, is to be present in the Church, to minister to the Church, and this is the role specifically underlined, revealed most in the Second Vatican Council and after the Second Vatican Council through the different Synods about the role of lay persons in the Church. Vita Apostolica and Vita Consecrata are documents centered on the religious life. Paragraph 55 says that because of the new circumstances in the history of the world it has become apparent that lay people are called to share not only the spirituality but the mission… not just spirituality but the mission of the religious family.
The Church needs to know what St. Teresa and St John of the Cross says and it’s our job to tell them, to let them know. There are 40,000 of you. There are 4,000 of us. You are ten times more present than we are. We have to read the Beatitudes as a way to remind us of how our relationship to the world as communities is.
Beatitudes As A Way To Remind Us Of How Our Relationship To The World As
We Americans have a big problem in that we are always tempted to be individualists.
Right? ( This also applies to Malaysian too, I believe. – S.Tai)
We are tempted to always think of what does this mean I have to do. Begin to think now as communities.
What does this mean for our community as a Secular Order community? Not what does this mean for me. Nobody has to quit their job, leave their families to become a Carmelite Secular if we do things in thinking in terms of our community.
Let’s read the Beatitudes. There are two sets of beatitudes. Not just Matthew, but also Luke. There are two sets of beatitudes. We are used to thinking of eight beatitudes, there is sort of a ninth one that some texts include in the eighth one in St. Matthew’s Gospel. There are six or seven in St. Luke’s Gospel.
St. Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12 )
(1) Seeing the crowds he went on the mountain and when he was seated, his disciples came to him.
(2) Then he began to speak and this is what he taught them.
(3) How blessed (There is always a problem is it blessed, or blessed. This is a point not just the word because it has to do also with the meaning. Other translations, I think the New American Bible first said, the one that we read at Mass or used to read at Mass in English, how happy. So it is happy or blessed or blessed. They have different shades of meaning.)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven, is theirs.
(4) Blessed are the gentle they shall have the earth as inheritance.
(5) Blessed are those who mourn they shall be comforted.
(6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness.
That’s the New Jerusalem Bible translation. Most of us are familiar with Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, they shall have their fill.
(7) Blessed are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown them.
(8) Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God.
(9) Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be recognized as children of God.
(10) Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness (justice) for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
(11) Blessed are you when people abuse you, persecute you, and speak all kinds calumny against you falsely on my account.
(12) Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven for this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.
St. Luke’s version. (Luke 6:20-26)
(20) Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said: “how blessed are you who are poor, the kingdom of God is yours.
(21) Blessed are you who are hungry now, you shall have your fill. Blessed are you who are weeping now, you shall laugh.
(22) Blessed are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal on account of the Son of Man.
(23) Rejoice when that day comes, and dance for joy, look your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.
(24) But alas for you, I like the other translation WOE, woe to you who are rich for you have your consolation now.
(25) Alas for you, woe to you who have plenty to eat now, for you shall go hungry. Alas for you, woe to those who are laughing now, you shall mourn and weep.
(26) Woe for you when everyone speaks well of you, this is the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Again as poverty, chastity, and obedience were the measuring, were the life of Jesus:
Jesus as poor, chaste, and obedient in the Gospel, in his life, in the tradition of the Church, that person becomes then the measuring stick of our own relationship to the Father, especially. The Beatitudes become the measuring stick for where do we identify ourselves, as our communities. Because when we do this in communities, this is again part of that incorporation. When we do this in community, we support each other doing it.
We are not left to wondering how or all on our own; but where do we identify ourselves?
With whom do we identify ourselves?