Introduction to a Reflection on the Beatitudes

| | Comments (1)

One of the earliest terms used to describe Christianity is the simple but evocative word "way" (Acts 9:2). This signals something of great importance: Christianity, before all else, is a form of life, a path that one walks. It is a way of seeing, a frame of mind, an attitude, but more than this, it is a manner of moving and acting, standing and relating. It is not simply a matter of the mind but of the body as well. In fact, one could say that Christianity is not real until it has insinuated itself into the blood and the bones, until it becomes an instinct, as much physical as spiritual. Perhaps, the most direct description is this: Christianity, the way of Jesus Christ, is a culture, a style of life supported by a unique set of convictions, assumptions, hopes, and practices. It is like a game with distinctive texture, feel and set of rules. As such, it is a milieu into which one must be introduced through a process of practice and apprenticeship.  (Barron, 2002, p. 13)

 

 08 the way edited.jpg

What Robert Barron says in the above quote from his book about Christianity, The Strangest Way, in particular may be said of Sacred Heart Spirituality and specifically about the Charism of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To be an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a way of seeing, a frame of mind, an attitude, but more than this, it is a manner of moving and acting, standing and relating. From one perspective, we may name them the vows.

 

THE VOWS 

 

  • Poverty is that willingness to share who and what we are with each other and with those to whom and with whom we minister as we put our gifts at the service of the Church.

 

  • Obedience is that open space within us that allows us to listen and recognize the Good Shepherd's voice, enabling us to respond with our whole heart to Him and to others.

 

  • Chastity is that stepping out in inner freedom revealing the love of the Heart of Jesus through our own loving those with whom and to whom we live and minister.

 

 

DISCIPLESHIP

 

         From another point of view, the practice and apprenticeship of which Barron speaks may be identified as the way of discipleship. Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth (2007) states: "Discipleship...Can be understood and lived out only by following Jesus and accompanying him on his journey." (p 69) For us as Christians the way of discipleship, the way to journey with Jesus is by practicing the attitudes of the Heart, the Be-attitudes. These attitudes of the Heart lead us and others more deeply into the Heart of Jesus; they allow us to put on His mind and heart.

 

          Pope Benedict XVI teaches:

 

"The saints are the true interpreters of Holy Scripture. The meaning of a given passage of the Bible becomes more intelligible in those human beings who have been totally transfixed by it and have lived it out. Interpretation of Scripture can never be a purely academic affair, and it cannot be relegated to the purely historical. Scripture is full of potential for the future, a potential that can only be opened up when someone 'lives through' and 'suffers through' the sacred text." (Ratzinger, 2007, p. 78)

 

MClelia2.jpgPope Benedict XVI's words ring true of Clelia Merloni, especially when we see the decisions she made and the letters she wrote in various challenging situations. Pope Benedict XVI in the above quote reveals the importance of looking to those who spent their lives striving to live the Scripture. What's amazing is: "Scripture is full of potential for the future, a potential that can only be opened up when someone 'lives through' and 'suffers through' the sacred text." We, as embodied spirits, need someone to show us the way. Oftentimes when we hear Scripture proclaimed; we hear the words, but don't understand what they mean, much less know how to apply them to our life. Clelia, indeed, is one who 'live[d] through' and 'suffer[ed] through' the sacred text;" she is the one who has been totally transfixed by Holy Scripture, because she lived it out. The potential of Scripture to touch us and change us here and now can be accessed, if we but open ourselves to the Spirit as we use Clelia's writings to reflect on her journey.

 

          The purpose of this blog is to provide a space where we may meet with Clelia and journey with her as she strives to live out the Beatitude call to the fullness of life. To do this we shall reflect on the concept of "Beatitude" in Scripture. In the following posts each Beatitude will be treated, using the following format:

 

  1. A reflection on the meaning of each beatitude is given.
  2. A brief introduction to the Scripture Foundation of the beatitude follows.
  3. Clelia Teaches us as she speaks to us in Words to Remember and the Spiritual Anthology and other texts.
  4. Glimpses into The Journey of Clelia are based on extended quotes from her letters in Letters of the Servant of God, Clelia Merloni Volumes 11 and 12.
  5. Comments and Connections are provided to help the reader discover how Clelia lived that beatitude.
  6. Reflection Questions are given to help us to apply the beatitude to our own lives.
  7. Clelia Prays contains excerpts from Words to Remember and
  8. The Saints Speak uses excerpts from various saints to comment on the beatitude.
  9. We Pray is a prayer starter, a stepping stone to enter into 20280AG  german sorrowful christ.jpgconversation with Jesus. 
  10. The Church Prays are prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours as found in Christian Prayer.

  

          So let us listen to Clelia and watch her efforts to practice the Beatitudes as we search for a more realistic understanding of how to apply the them in our own lives. If we journey with her, through Clelia's lived example we will have a better grasp of the true meaning of discipleship and we will indeed put on the mind and heart of Jesus. The Beatitudes reveal to us Jesus' heart and they reveal to us the way to holiness, the way to the Heart of the Father. Let us respond to Jesus' invitation.

 

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." (Mt 11: 28-30)

 

1 Comments

First, thanks for the beautiful effort of this blog!

Second, the first thought that comes to mind in reference to the phrase "the Way" is that it is not simply "the way of Jesus," but Jesus who said "I am the Way"! (Hence, Catherine of Siena: All the way to heaven is heaven, because He said, 'I am the Way.'") This is how identified we must be with Christ, truly other Christs!

I look forward to the reflections on the beatitudes!

Sr. Mary Ellen