Till Christ Be Formed in Every Heart



Posts tagged Beatitudes

The Desire to Fit In

Let no one tell you that being in high school is easy. There seems to be so much riding on your exams, your grades, your after-school activities, that it produces a lot of stress on its own. There is also the enormous pressure to look, talk, and act a certain way. Some people feel these pressures differently than others, but they are still there. Fitting in, not standing out- for a lot of teens in school, this is priority number one. And it doesn’t go away once you get into college. It is perfectly natural for most people to not want to stand out in the crowd.

Being Catholic does not always make it easy to fit in. There’s Ash Wednesday, when people tell you that you have a smudge on your forehead all day. It makes you stand out. Then you have to explain why you have ashes on your head. The purpose of the Catholic Church is to call everyone into a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and with that relationship comes ways of living and thinking that are increasingly unpopular, and even hated. But the goal of the Church is not to appeal to the majority, but to be faithful to Jesus.

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Day Five: Joy of Love

When Jesus said, “pure of heart” he was drawing attention away from the obsession with external purification rituals of the Pharisees. He focuses on the heart, but their external approach kept their hearts from being truly pure. Jesus even called them “white-washed tombs” that are pretty on the outside, but inside, they are full of dead men’s bones!

This was the difference b/t Christ’s attitude to sinners and that of the Pharisees. Jesus associated with sinners in order to radiate upon them and their faults the merciful purity of the love of God, and so to heal them, while the Pharisees feared contamination. (Servais Pinckaers, O.P., Sources of Christian Ethics)

Purity means freedom from compromise, especially with sin. The only way you can do that is by building of the habit of consistently choosing God above all other things, even if it comes at a great personal cost.

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Day Four: Joy of Compassion

Introduction to the Joy of Compassion

The next two Beatitudes are built upon the previous three. In humility, repentance, and meekness, the Christian is being cultivated to serve and love his neighbor. The Commandments might have outlined in a negative way the bear minimum of what justice demands, but the radical love of Jesus Christ pushes us further still.

The love of Jesus Christ moves us to compassion as it moved Him to the compassion of the cross and resurrection. Compassion is another interesting word that comes to us from the Latin. Cum means with, and passio, means to suffer. To experience compassion for someone else is not to feel sorry for their pain, but to suffer with them.

These two Beatitudes- hunger and thirst for justice, and being merciful- are not contradictory. Justice and mercy are not at odds with each other, but in the Person and example of Jesus Christ, they form the Joy of Compassion.

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Day Three: Joy of Humility

Introduction to the Beatitudes

The rest of this week is going to be focusing on the face of Christ revealed in the Eight Beatitudes, taking a few at a time in order to really understand them.

Christian morality is about following Jesus Christ. Too often, however, when we hear about “Christian” morality, all we hear is the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament. The Commandments tell us what to do/not do. The Beatitudes tell us who we should be, what type of disciple Christ wants of us. We ought to start morality with the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount and not just on the Commandments. They come second, because Identity and Destiny come first, which is what the Beatitudes unfold for us.

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Day One: Joyful Identity

The Subject of My  Own Life

We need to focus on the “I” that is the subject of this journey. Who am I and what am I? If we don’t answer these questions, then “where am I going and how do I get there?” just don’t matter. We need to stop and really dig down deep into these questions. You and I need to think about this stuff, using the gifts of our own brains that God gave to us, so that in prayer we can wrestle with these big issues. These are the fundamental questions of our Identity: Who am I? Who should I be? Who am I becoming?

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