Are the Beatitudes Realistic?
Love your neighbor as you love yourself. There was no fine print.
The Beatitudes is one of the most often quoted passages in the Bible. These promises to the faithful appear at the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The account is recorded in Matthew 5:3-12. The word beatitude comes from the Latin beatitudo which translates as "happiness".
Scholars generally regard the statements as spiritual assurances of reward for those who suffer for their faith in this life. However, I believe they represent far more than that. Clearly, Jesus believed the characteristics he describes are the hallmarks of a spiritual and happy person. I concur.
2000 years later they remain a measuring stick by which we can evaluate our own development as people.
Do we bless and encourage the attributes described by Jesus? Do we encourage our children to embody these values? How about those we place in positions of authority over us? Do they bless and promote these values? Or, do they exhibit behaviors that are the polar opposite?
Do we too much extol the virtue of the warrior and deride the peacemaker? Do we thirst for justice or have we become content with a comfortable corruption? Do we comfort all who mourn or only those on our side? Have we so divided the world into "us" and "them" that mercy is no longer an option? Do we see these ideas and the people who promote them as weak and unrealistic?
Are they just nice words or are they traits we should seek to develop in ourselves and our children? Do we mean to create a society based on these ideals or continue to be led down paths going the other direction? These concepts are grounded in love while hate, anger, and fear are the engines driving our world today.
I am not here today to answer these questions for you or for our society. I am simply asking the questions.
However, I will offer this. Whether you are a Christian, a spiritual seeker, or just someone trying to see the world in a more positive and hopeful way, the logic and compassion of these virtues is inescapable. Many earnestly believe in these words, but have been taught that such a world is not and will never be possible. To them, I suggest that as long as you hold that mindset; you are correct. But the moment enough of us are willing to release that mental block, a whole new world is born.
Just as people must grow and grow up societies must do the same. The opportunities are there for us every day. The question is only whether we will choose a new course or remain on our present one.
Here are Jesus' words. As you read them, consider, for at least one moment, what the world can be instead of just what it is today.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
- Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
- Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!
for 6 Sense Media