True happiness

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1 November 2017

The Beatitudes is a familiar scripture. We have most likely rattled off its verses in Church and the classroom since a young age. Perhaps we think of them simply as a set of moral platitudes but they are so much more than that.

Saint Augustine wrote the weighty proclamation that “anyone who piously and earnestly ponders the Sermon on the Mount, will find therein… the perfect standard of the Christian Life.”

In the Beatitudes (‘Blessings’), Jesus tells us what every one of us, deep down, wants to know: how to be happy. He speaks here not of obligations, not about demand, not about law but He talks first about joy.

To live the Beatitudes is to be centered on God and God’s desires for our life.

Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain Mercy.

At the heart of this Gospel is the beatitude: blessed are the merciful. This is because mercy is a participation in the Divine life itself. Show mercy and you’ll find joy. And when you make peace you are also participating in the divine life. If you’re a peacemaker you will be called a son or daughter of God because you have participated in the Divine life itself – if you want to be happy, seek mercy and peace – become a conduit of these two things.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness.

What do you hunger and thirst for? When you wake up in the morning – what is it you seek – is it success, money, power, fame? Jesus says you’ll be happy if you hunger and thirst for righteousness. Do you experience deep dissatisfaction in your life? Maybe its because you’re hungering and thirsting for the wrong things!

Jesus also says how happy you are if you are not attached to the approval of others. Oh, how we love for others to think highly of us but if you are able to kick the love for honour out of the central place in your heart then into that place can come the tender mercy of God and now you’re a conduit of Grace, now you’re a peacemaker.

Today let’s hold up the Beatitudes as a mirror in which we examine our own lives and consciences? “Am I poor in spirit? Am I humble and merciful? Am I pure of heart? Do I bring peace?

Do you want to be happy? Then incorporate these eight beatitudes as the structuring elements of your life.

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