A Lesson on the Beatitudes
There is a rather humorous story about a man who was climbing a great mountain. As the man got near the top, he lost his footing and started to fall. He fell about 100 feet and caught a branch which stopped his fall. As the man was hanging on that branch he looked to the drop below. It was a drop of thousands of feet. He looked up to the sky above. He decided to pray “O God if you are up there tell me what to do. I will do anything you ask. Please save me!” A voice came from the heavens, “This is God.” The main said, “O God tell me what to do. I will do anything you say.” The voice from the heavens said, “Let go of the branch.” The man looked down at the descent of thousands of feet below, he looked up again at the sky above and cried out “Is there anyone else up there!”
As we look at the Beatitudes, we possible have the theme of letting go and letting God. Pope Benedict XVI explained that the Beatitudes offer a new program of life through which we open ourselves up to what is truly good. We hear the paradox of humility in the gospel. Only in releasing our need for control, our need for comfort, our need for success, can we find true happiness in God’s presence.
The word, Beatitude involves true happiness and true blessedness. We could say that is found in union with God.
A simple exercise helps to express this idea. In place of the word blessed insert the words, God is with. God is with the poor in spirit. God is with those who mourn. God is with those who desire righteousness. If you are sad, God is with you. If you are trying to make peace with someone in your life, God is with you. If you, despite all your mistakes, all your poor decisions, and all your sins, really want to become holy, God is with you.
The Beatitudes are two truths that don’t seem to fit together. This is called a paradox. They tell us what we do not expect to hear. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? One explanation is to be defenseless before the love of God. To be rich in spirit is just the opposite – to be defensive, to be willful, to choose one’s own path instead of the path which God wants you to walk.
A wonderful image for this is following the ancient practice of raising our hands with palms open for the Our Father. This is called the Orans position. Orans means praying. It is thought that Jesus prayed in this way. The point of the Orans position is to be defenseless. We take our hands out of the equation. The point of the Orans position is surrender. Thy Will be done. We cease to control things. We cannot manipulate things. Praying in the Orans position is about letting go and letting God be in complete control. Like Jesus, we surrender to the Father’s Will. Not my will, but Thy will be done.
Going back to the original story about the man hanging onto the branch and not wanting to let go of the branch…What branch are you holding onto today that prevents you from total surrender to God’s Will? Are you hanging onto the branch of anger, the branch of bitterness, the branch of past hurt? The branch of always being right, the branch of judging others? What is that branch that you need to let go of today? It could be the branch of saying it has to be my way. But you are called to do it God’s way, and often times, God’s way is in contrast to your way.
So today, for true Beatitude, let us let go of the branch or branches that we are clinging to. So that we can be lifted up by God’s grace. We let go…he catches us and lifts us up.
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May our prayers bring healing, comfort and strength to the sick and their caregivers.
Remembering especially Mary Adams,
Tim Angelone, Greg Basco, Gwen Beres,
Mary Ann Betliskey, Bill Bican, Joyce Bican, Phillip Bilelo, Noella Burrows, Donna Czyzynski, Corrine Dawe, Angelo DeNova,
Olivia Donovan, Jose Dybzinski,
Jason Glaros, Kristin Hill, Millie Jasany, Lucy Konkoly, Tom Konkoly,
Judy Landolph, Bishop Richard Lennon,
Art Madsen, Cindi Magyar,
Dorothy Mangan, Therese McFadden, Rose Meadows, Jeanette Miller, Marguerite Miller, Jeannette Morrow, Louis Novac, Art Novotny, Dan Palmentera, John Pocius, Betty Rhine, Brianna Rhine, Elaine Stack,
Rev. John Tezie, Ed Vitigoj, Carole Walk, Ron Walk, Robert Wagner and David Zelenka.
May our Loved Ones who have died rest in eternal peace in heaven.
For the Men and Wo men serving in the military, especially those from our parish & their families.
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