So there we have it!!
ARTICLE 2: OUR VOCATION TO BEATITUDE
Beatitude means blessing, happiness, the ultimate good which God has called us to
The words “blessings” and “happiness” are good and powerful
Those words are inadequate
Beatitude is the ULTIMATE GOOD to which God is calling us
Beatitude is the ULTIMATE BLESSING that God desires for us
Beatitude is the ULTIMATE HAPPINESS that God wants for us
All of this springs from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Ch 5
Paragraph 1716 says, “The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of Heaven: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”
Jesus goes on to talk about the other ways that we are called to live in the Kingdom of Heaven
Paragraph 1717 says, “The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity.”
What were God’s promises to Abraham?
Jesus says this is all fulfilled in the Kingdom of Heaven
It is fulfilled in HIM
THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 1717 continues, “...they are paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations…”
How did the Beatitudes end?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”
True happiness is not the fleeting happiness of mere pleasure
Paragraph 1718 says, “The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it…”
Yes, there are levels of happiness
There is immediate happiness in the sense of pleasure, like good yummy food
There are different levels like accomplishments which lead to recognition
Helping others is another level of happiness
What God is talking about here and Christ is talking about and the Church is relating to us is not just those levels
St. Augustine says in Paragraph 1718, “We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated. How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.”
St. Augustine’s mom, St. Monica, was Catholic but Augustine ran away from that
He checked out all these different philosophies and religions
He finally came to know who Jesus is, to believe in Christ, and know the Catholic Church
In his book, Confessions, he has this prayer, “How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.”
This profound reality that we have been LONGING FOR THE LORD
It’s not just about wanting to know what the words are in the Catechism or the Bible
It is about so much more than that
St. Thomas Aquinas says in Paragraph 1718, “God alone satisfies.”
The whole goal of human existence is that God calls us to Himself
THAT IS OUR DESTINY!!
God wants us all to choose our destination
That beatitude is eternal life with Him because He is the only one that satisfies
In the Baltimore Catechism, the first question is: “Who made you?”
The answer is, “God made me.”
The second question is, “Why did God make you?”
The answer is, “God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this life so as to live with him forever in the next.”
Now look at Paragraph 1721
Paragraph 1721 says, “God put us in this world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us ‘partakers of the divine nature’ and of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.”
THIS IS SO GOOD!!
Here is the goal
Here is what God wants for you
He is going to give His grace
He is going to give all His goodness
He is going to give every opportunity for you and I to choose Him
He wants that goodness
He wants that fullness of life
Paragraph 1723 says, “The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement-however beneficial it may be-such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love.”
We have to CHOOSE it
Good and evil
Life and death
Darkness and light
We have to seek the love of God above everything else
How many times a day do we live to accrue wealth?
How often do we strive for good health?
If we don’t apply this to our hearts, it’s just a bunch of words
It is good to know where we spend our time is where we place our heart
Where we spend our money is what we place in our hearts
If we find ourselves wanting to work out or to save money for whatever the thing is, but we are not willing to take time to make sure we are praying in a way that gets us closer to the Lord
Then the big question is what do we love most?
St. John Henry Newman says in Paragraph 1723, “All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability…It is a homage resulting from a profound faith…that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a second…Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world-it may be called ‘newspaper fame’-has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration.”
His words are PRESCIENT
This is what is in our hearts
We bow down before wealth
We want to seek after wealth
We want to achieve it
We want to gain it
Because we think that if we are wealthy, we can do all things
What about notoriety?
These days it can be called “Instagram fame”
Notoriety has come to be considered a great good in itself
St. John Henry Newman said these words long before the invention of the internet
Long before the invention of “influencers”
Because the human heart has this
This lives in ALL OF US
We have many decisive moral choices
What comes first?
What gets my heart above everything else?
Is it going to be the Lord?
Is it going to be anything else?
What gets my heart?
What gets my attention?
What gets my time?
What gets my money?
What gets me?
This is such an important question we need to ASK regularly
This is such an important question we need to ANSWER regularly
I hope that my answer is always going to be, “Ok, God, you are first. No matter what else there is in my life, you first.”
Hopefully, with God’s grace, you and I can choose that with our lives
It is very difficult, though
So we need grace
We need help
We need prayers
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!