“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
Blessed are the meek,
Blessed are the merciful,
Blessed are the clean of heart,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness…
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you…
I will admit to not understanding the beatitudes until relatively recently. I think one of my errors was to think I was hearing about eight different people in the eight Beatitudes.
I finally realized that these are all the same person, not eight. Jesus is this person, and these are his character traits.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As we become like Him, we grow in these beatitudes.
I also thought that we had to become like the beatitudes immediately. However, I have not found that to be possible.
Instead, I have discovered that we grow in the Beatitudes if we just do some simple things. Jesus promises eternal life to the baptized, and those who never miss Mass, receive Holy Communion every opportunity they have and, when they fall off the bicycle, go to Confession often. If we only do these three things, we will be comforted in the Kingdom of Heaven. We grow into the Beatitudes by simply living the Sacramental life of the Church. It’s not complicated. By the Grace of the Sacraments we follow Jesus and inherit the Kingdom of God.
Don’t miss Mass. Receive Holy Communion every chance you have. Go to Confession often.
I find it fascinating to watch people grow and mature spiritually. Look what happens. We see people who don’t go to Mass regularly, or rarely. They tend to sit in the back of the Church, or stand far back so they could escape easily or not be noticed. They listen to the Word of God. The Word of God grows in their heart.
If they don’t harden their hearts to the Gospel, they gradually open up their hearts. The Word of God grows in them, changing them.
If they feel welcomed, they feel they have to come back. It is a beautiful process to watch them grow and mature within the parish community.
I am a convert. At first I thought it was just about “me and God”. However, as I matured in my faith, I realized that I cannot grow spiritually without my parish community. I can’t do it alone. I need you.
Just like young married couples make each other better persons, so parishioners, together make each other better Christians. We need to worship together. Together we deepen our understanding about the Gospel. It won’t happen if I am separated from the parish. I need you. And you need me.
Not only that, buy I have learned that you need to be able to count on me. I have to be present to you all the time. And I need to know that I can count on you.
When my faith is weak, your faith strengthens me. We need one another to grow closer to Jesus.
Look around our parish and see all the activities and ministries we have. That is the work of the Holy Spirit working through all of us. The Religious Education program is made up of volunteers who tell the parish, “You can count on me!” I will prepare and be here to help your children learn our faith.
Our spiritual growth ministries, like Christ Renews His Parish and the Movimiento Familiar, are only possible when people say, “You can count on me!”
Our Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Girl Scout programs are only possible when parishioners stand up and say, “You can count on me!”
Our Catholic School program for even the poorest families is thriving because our parishioners say, “You can count on me!”
The Holy Spirit comes to those hearts and strengthens those hearts who say, “Here I am Lord, you can count on me!”