Fr. John Pasquini, Th.D.
Summary of Jesus’ Teachings on the Virtuous life
The Beatitudes (Mt. 5:3-12)
The beatitudes flow from the gifts of the Spirit and dispose a person to obey these gifts. The beatitudes are reminders that a person cannot be fully human without acknowledging and exploring their spiritual side. Sadly, the spiritual is repressed by too many in this modern world.
The beatitude of being “poor in spirit” promotes confidence in God and complete dependence on God (cf. Is. 61:1; Zep. 2:3). It also engenders a humble predisposition. The beatitude of being “mournful” is that beatitude which fosters recognition of God’s consolation and comfort. The beatitude of being “meek,” engenders the recognition of one’s place in the kingdom of God (cf. Ps. 37:11). The beatitude of “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” promotes conformity to God’s will and a willing submission to God’s plan of salvation for all. The beatitude of being “merciful” properly orders the virtue of justice in accordance to the spirit of the law as opposed to the letter of the law. The beatitude of being “pure of heart” is that assurance that God’s presence will always be with the pure of heart (cf. Ps. 24:4; 42:3). The beatitude of being a “peacemaker” is one that promotes peace in one’s heart and in the hearts of others. It promotes a docile, gentle spirit that is ordered to the providential plan of God. The beatitude that entails being unjustly “persecuted” is that beatitude which empowers one to seek justice at whatever cost, even at the cost to one’s life.
The beatitudes express the human person’s vocation as a physical and spiritual being. They shed light on a Christian’s duties and attitudes. They sustain hope amidst a world of trials and tribulations. They “proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples.”
The beatitudes express a person’s innermost desire, that person’s desire for happiness. This desire for happiness has been placed at the very core of the human person in order to draw him or her to God, the source of all happiness.
The beatitudes challenge and confront people. They force people to make virtuous choices regarding their eternal destiny.