The Sermon on the Mount, Cosimo Rosselli, c. 1481
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“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, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12
In the original Greek, “blessed” is makarios meaning happy. Unfortunately this is a poor translation. The best translation of “blessed” in this text is “on the way.” In other words, those who possess the characteristics listed in the Beatitudes are “on the way” to heaven. They are conforming themselves to be more like Christ, who lives fully these characteristics. The Beatitudes are a self-portrait of Jesus’ heart. Your mission is to form your heart to be more like His.
Let’s look at the Beatitudes using this new insight into the meaning of “blessed.”
“You are on your way when you are poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
“You are on your way when you mourn, for you will be comforted.
“You are on your way when you are meek, for you will inherit the earth.
“You are on your way when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you will be satisfied.
“You are on your way when you are merciful, for you shall obtain mercy.
“You are on your way when you are pure in heart, for you shall see God.
“You are on your way when you make peace, for you will be called a child of God.
“You are on your way when you are persecuted because of righteousness, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
“You are on your way when people 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, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” cf. Matthew 5:3-12
A holy and happy marriage depends on husbands and wives becoming more Christ-like in their words, actions, and deeds. Ask God to transform your heart to be more like Jesus. Ask Him to remove from you all that blocks this transformation. Ask God for the grace to submit to His holy will for you.
As Catholics, we receive the grace to be more Christ-like through frequent participation in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on these two Sacraments (emphasis added):
1424 It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the life of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother” (Mt 5:24).
1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace.
1436 Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins” (Council of Trent, 1551: Denzinger 1638).
Ask God to let the love of Christ shine through you to your family, neighbors, and friends. May God shower you with grace upon grace as you become the person that He wants you to be and the one your spouse and family most needs and desires. Make frequent visits to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and partake of the Holy Eucharist as often as possible. Great graces are available in these Sacraments to help you on your way to becoming more like Christ.
May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 115:15