Monday, July 17, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 18 - The Eight Beatitudes

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To test my knowledge of the eight beatitudes.

The Idea: Many people shy away from the Church. They think Christian life is misery on earth that you accept in return for happiness in heaven.

This might be described as something like children chomping reluctantly and steadily through the tasteless vegetables while their eyes are fixed on the dessert.

What fun is there, they say, in always repressimg yourselves? Look at the eight beatitudes: you have to be poor, suffer persecution without lifting a finger. Do the beatitudes really mean sorrow, suffering, cowardliness, gloominess? (See Matt. 5: 1-12.)

My Personal Application: What do I personally think that the beatitudes mean? Is it possible that I heard them just as many non-Catholics do? If someone were to say that "Blessed are the poor in spirit" means the poorer you are, the happier you'll be, you'd answer "False." Fine, but what does it mean? Or does "Blessed are those who mourn" mean your life in heaven will be happy in proportion as your life on earth was painful and gloomy? Some people think so. Could you put them straight ? Can you put yourself straight?

And how about this: "Blessed are the merciful" means that it's always better to be nice to people even though they do you a great deal of harm. Correct?

I Speak to Christ: I find I don't understand these teachings of yours as well as I thought, Lord. Of course I want to be happy. But just knowing the beatitudes by memory isn't going to help me to practice them. In the next meditations on your beatitudes, please help me to see what they mean and to carry them out in my life.

Thought for Today: "My words give life."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

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