Beatitudes: Logoi (words) of life in Communion with God, the logoi of prayer and living with God.
Matt 4:23-5: 13 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 …. 25 Great multitudes followed Him — from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. Chapt 5 And seeing the multitudes, (Jesus) went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor (beggars) in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
A beggar doesn’t claim any rights, he or she just asks for mercy. This is the foundation of prayer. God is worshipped in spirit and truth as God, honored as the Lord of Heaven and Earth and of the Living and the Dead.
Rom 11:33-12:1 “33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 ‘Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
The first beatitude expresses the subjective side of man’s relation to the Ultimate reality of God’s will which is behind everything. Behind God’s will is only the Unknowable God, who fills all things.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Conquer anger by mourning. Jesus confirmed that we ought to love God with the whole of our being, heart, soul, mind, and strength. God cares about His world and every person in it. When things are wrong with His world God is angry, but He is angry with an absolute knowledge of the sources of what is wrong. He is angry at evil, but He wants to save His work which He saw from the beginning as being very good. When man through his use of freedom (the gnomic will) participates in evil, God hates the evil but loves His work of fully functioning humanity. It can be redeemed, so God wants us, not to be angry, but to mourn in regard to evil. Our Lord expresses anger in virtue of being the Messiah, prophet, priest and king as seen in Matthew 23, and in overturning the money changers in John 2. Parents may express anger in their role as parents and civil authorities can do so as powers that be that are ordained of God. Those who use anger will answer to God in the way they used it. When in doubt mourn.
As the salt of the earth and light of the world, we are beggars in spirit, we have His permission to mourn over the participation of God’s wonderful work in evil, whether it is our own fall into evil or that of other humans. When we become angry we are assuming God’s authority. If God has not given us this responsibility, anger becomes arbitrary and is under God’s judgment.
The Bible is full of this sort of mourning. The Holy Prophet Jeremiah expresses mourning, not only in the book after his name, but also the book of Lamentations. The Apostle says in 2 Cor 7:10, “10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. Ps 34:17-19, The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Isa 57:15, For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. KJV
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Accepting and learning from God’s control over all your circumstances.
A big part of Israel’s experience was the forty years of learning in the wilderness. Moses said, “ Deut 8:1-5, “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. NKJV
The word for “meek” means having an openness to learning, the way of the disciple. In this the follower of God sees the hand of God in his or her concrete circumstances. The principles of revelation are practical. They are the way of living and learning in your world, which is God’s world.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
The will of God is the Source, Support and End of righteousness. Righteousness is the way man is meant to live in God’s plan of blessing for man. This word covers Holy Love in Christ. It is God’s righteousness as opposed to autonomous way of living.
Matt 7:21-22 “Not everyone who says to Me,’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. So Prov 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
The entire book of Romans is about righteousness. The eighth chapter says that the way of the law could not produce God’s righteousness because of the weakness of the flesh. Mankind without Pentecost was shown the way of righteousness. We still call the Old Testament faithful, “the righteous.” They were seekers of God’s righteousness but lacked the full power of the Holy Spirit as Paul explains in Romans 8.
In the Old Testament we hear. Prov 16:6, “In mercy and truth (like love and holiness), Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” The Old Testament way is an icon, looking forward to Christ where such a life becomes more possible in and through Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Rom 3:21-26, But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just(Holy) and (through Love on the Cross) the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
This is applied in Holy Baptism and the Holy Mysteries to the one who ”in the fear of God faith and love draws near.” The way of the Sacraments is the way of God’s righteousness, the way of Holy Love, the way of the Church.
7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
The Holy Scriptures bring Holiness and love together. In the life of the Church the faithful are renewed regularly into the way of righteousness, but immediately we are reminded of this being the way of mercy. We are to remain in mercy. Failure to be merciful to those who offend us is to step away from God’s mercy for us.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
When Our Lord shows us the way of mercy He immediately protects us from slipping into slavery to the passions from the world by slipping into an independent use of our will, the gnomic will. Here we apply the teaching of the Fathers to watch for passionate thoughts that urge us toward finding our meaning in the pleasures of this small world. God’s world is infinite and eternal and full of abundant life.
John 1:5, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
2 Cor 5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
The radical middle is the way of peace and reconciliation. The muddled middle is the way of confusions and strife and warfare. We call all men to the peace of Christ in the life of the Church.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. NKJV
This way of life is a way of suffering and rejection by the world and love in the Church.
John 15:19-25 Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you,’A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’*
So Our Lord says of both the beggar in the spirit and the persecuted, “of them is the kingdom of God.”