Most of us have heard of the beatitudes. In fact, most of us can probably recite them by heart. Blessed are the poor.. Blessed are the meek.. etc.. However, knowing the beatitudes and being able to recite them, doesn’t necessarily mean practising the beatitudes. With Fr. Stephen’s recent invitation to pray a novena with him as we reflect on the feast of St. Francis, I started to read a bit more about St. Francis, and read a few blogs from the Franciscans who are sharing the novena subscrition we have all been invited to participate in. The link is here, in the event you missed it.
Francis Feast Day Novena
Fr. Jack Wintz (OFM) put together a few points in relation to the beatitudes which we all can learn from. Rather than distilling these and rewriting his blog, his reflections on each beatitude have been included for careful consideration and reflection. Link to original blog.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus does not comfort the proud, but those broken in spirit. He assures them that they are the true recipients of God’s saving love. In the Old Testament, God’s poor are called the anawim, the Hebrew word for the poor, humble and afflicted. Only those who are “poor in spirit” understand that salvation is a free gift from God.
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Those who are now mourning recognize their need for God’s healing and forgiveness. In Matthew’s Gospel, a tax collector named Matthew is among those eating with Jesus. When Jesus is asked why he eats with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus answers, “Those who are well do not need the physician, but the sick do” (Matthew 9:12). Only those who admit their sickness or sin are open to God’s saving love.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
For some, the word meek may suggest weakness or spinelessness. The biblical meaning of meek, however, indicates respect and forbearance. Jesus describes himself as “meek and humble of heart,” and yet he is anything but spineless. Indeed, the Jesus we know has immense inner strength.