When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Aaaah-tchoo! When someone sneezes we often automatically use the expression “God Bless you” without even thinking about it. What does it mean to bless someone or to be a blessing? The Beatitudes begin with the word “blessed” and remind us that a blessing is the basic movement of Christian prayer—it is an intimate encounter between God and us. In blessing, God’s gift and our acceptance of this gift are united together in love. When we bless someone we unite our heart to that person’s heart so that we can truly be called children of God. Because God blesses us, we can in turn bless others.
As you reflect upon the Beatitudes, ponder in your heart the people in your life: Who needs more peace, mercy or more joy in their life? Who is undergoing a time of mourning? And ask yourself—who will I bless in my life today?
—Julianne Stanz is a speaker, writer and mother of two, originally from Ireland. She currently serves as Director of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI.
Lord, when hardships, disillusionments, broken relationships, sickness and death just don’t make sense, we will continue to seek your kingdom. Strengthen our faith so we can trust that all will be well.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team