Fellow blogger Colin Markham has written a commentary on the Beatitudes (blessings) which reads, you might say, like a multi-vitamin for the soul. Even as vitamins for the body nurture and strengthen flesh and blood, vitamins for the soul nurture and strengthen mind and spirit.
I encourage you to retreat for a while from the brittle voices of fear and trepidation broadcast 24/7 in the world just now to re-charge your “spiritual batteries” and boost your faith by the power of God’s Word by which all that is love, light, and life is; by which all that is hatred, darkness, and death is overcome.
For it is written, “faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJB).
It is also written, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them] from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).
Take as needed.
The Beatitudes: the antidote for a spiritually unhealthy world
Quotations from Scripture are taken from the English Standard Version
In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5 to 7), Jesus sets out a programme of ethics that characterise the conduct of those who would enter the kingdom of God. He explains how they should fulfil His teachings in the light of the laws and practices of Judaism, how they should be detached from wealth, how they should relate to their neighbour, and the moral imperatives that should motivate all their actions. The Beatitudes (Mt 5.1-12) serve as both a preamble to the Sermon and a summary of its teachings, drawing out the ethical demands and challenges that a citizen of the kingdom will meet in everyday life. The Beatitudes are a succinct manifesto for Christian discipleship. They do not supercede the Ten Commandments, rather they describe the spirit in which the Commandments are to be interpreted. In nine statements, the Beatitudes address the human condition. They are relevant for any era and circumstance.
Anyone who follows Christ is His disciple, regardless of any other consideration, because discipleship is a life-long commitment, not an apprenticeship. Understood and absorbed, the ethical principles contained in the Beatitudes act as a necessary restraint to human waywardness, a reminder that the Christian faith is a counter-cultural force for good in a world sunk in evil. The Beatitudes set out what a Christian should aspire to and practice. They sum up the attitudes and qualities necessary for authentic discipleship. All nine are intrinsic to a life of faith. One cannot be selective about them, or indeed about any of Christ’s teachings. The Gospel must be accepted in its entirety.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The fundamental quality required to enter the kingdom is in lamentably short supply in our modern world. Humility. Humility is the foundation on which an acceptance of the Christian faith must be firmly placed. In other words, ‘blessed are those who come to realise their lives are spiritually bankrupt’. They are acutely aware of their limitations and weaknesses and their inclination to transgress. They know their need for God. These are people who are open to the appeal of Christianity, the call to repentance and reformation of character through the transforming friendship of Christ. When mind and motivations are renewed, the journey can begin.
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Mt 11.28-29)…continue reading…
POSTSCRIPT: I love it when synchronicity happens. For example, when I finished this post today, May 26, 2020, I opened up today’s online edition ofTechnocracy News and discovered this article: “CDC Confirms Extremely Low COVID-19 Death Rate.”
It always helps on those occasions when both secular and spiritual news align, in this case, align with the need to ramp the panic down. Way down.