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Pick a Beatitude for Where You Are

First Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-6

Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab:
“As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve,
during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word.”
The LORD then said to Elijah:
“Leave here, go east
and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan.
You shall drink of the stream,
and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.”
So he left and did as the LORD had commanded.
He went and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan.
Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning,
and bread and meat in the evening,
and he drank from the stream.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 121:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
Indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

NAB

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I have a tendency to read the Beatitudes and think that they are intimidating and impossible, but at the same time tedious and painful. I don’t know why, if it is just my laziness, my own unfailing desire for comfort, or maybe our society’s intense focus on getting ahead and seeking personal fulfillment at every turn, but it’s difficult for me to be inspired anew with each reading of the Beatitudes.

But we cannot let Jesus’ important words from the Mount of Olives somehow grow into a laundry list of unattainable holy attributes.

The fact is that the Beatitudes are how Jesus is calling us to live. Everyone of us, no matter our vocation, our age, our work, or our season of life, we are all called to live a life inspired by the Beatitudes.

This may not mean we live every single one of the Beatitudes at the same time. Actually, I’m fairly certain for most of us normal people, we are probably called to be living out one of them in a much stronger way than the others. That doesn’t mean that we are not always called to be merciful, or pure, or a peacemaker, but I do think that one of the Beatitudes can be our calling at a particular time in our lives.

I know there have been times where I have really had to work hard at being a peacemaker within my own family, other times where I have been very poor in spirit, where I have suffered a period of spiritual dryness and just had to keep the faith when there was little consolation. I know many people who are experiencing an intense time of mourning, others who are being persecuted in different ways for what they believe, and still others who devout their lives to pursuing righteousness in a world of injustice.

Instead of approaching the Beatitudes today as a daunting checklist of prescribed accomplishments, let us look at what is happening in our lives right now and try to identify what the strongest call to the Beatitudes is. It could be our biggest challenge and struggle, or it could be our greatest joy and blessing. But I think if we look we will see God’s will in our lives calling us to deeper holiness by living out the beatitudes.

Holy Spirit, enliven our hearts towards the beatitudes today. Show us God’s call to us to live a particular Beatitude right now in our lives and give us the grace to say yes to His will with our whole hearts.

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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