Monday, September 29, 2008

The Beatitudes, Part Two

The Beatitudes are among the most lofty—and often perplexing—teachings given to us by Christ, and one book I’ve been reading is an excellent study from a social perspective; The Divine Pity: A Study in the Social Implications of the Beatitudes, by Rev. Gerald Vann, O.P., and over the next several days I’ll be posting some quotes from it.

This is the second beatitude in the RSV translation, but third in the Douay Rheims.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

“They that mourn, they who can forget their own desires altogether if need be, or even choose discomfort and sorrow, in order to serve Love in all things, they are the ones who in actual practice achieve wisdom, because they have brought the manifold into unity by seeing God in all things and turning their love and service of all things into a single act of worship of the One. St. Thomas associates this beatitude with the gift of knowledge, because, he says, the gift leads us to mourn over the way we have allowed creatures to distract us from God: to distract us because we have turned them into a means of comfort or pleasure, and so enjoyed them apart from and in opposition to God.”

In The Navarre Bible, St. Matthew, the commentary on this verse says:

“Those who mourn”: here our Lord is saying that those are blessed who suffer from any kind of affliction—particularly those who are genuinely sorry for their sins, or are pained by the offences which others offer God, and who bear their suffering with love and in a spirit of atonement.

St. Josemaria says:

“You are crying? Don’t be ashamed of it. Yes, cry: men also cry like you, when they are alone and before God. Each night, says King David, I soak my bed with tears. With those tears; those burning manly tears, you can purify your past and supernaturalize your present life.” (St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 216)