01/29/2020, 17.31
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Pope: The Beatitudes as Christian identity card and map of Christian life

Francis began a cycle of catechesis, dedicated to the Beatitudes, which are a message for “all humanity". “God, to give himself to us, often chooses unthinkable paths, perhaps those of our limits, of our tears, of our defeats.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today began a new cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Beatitudes, globally framing Jesus’s words, which he will follow with commentaries on “each Beatitude, one by one.”

The latter are "the path Jesus proposes to us", the “Christian 'identity card because they define the face of Jesus himself, his lifestyle,” for whom “blessed” is not someone who “is doing well, but someone who is in a condition of grace, who progresses in God’s grace, who progresses on God’s path.”

The Pope stressed first of all “how the proclamation of this message came about”. Jesus spoke from a mountain and his message was “addressed to the disciples, but on the horizon, there were crowds, that is, all of humanity. It was a message for all humanity.”

“Jesus began to teach a new law: to be poor, to be meek, to be merciful ... These 'new commandments' are much more than rules. In fact, Jesus did not impose anything, but revealed the path of happiness, his path, by repeating the word 'blessed' eight times.”

“Each Beatitude is made up of three parts. The first always has the word 'blessed'; then comes the situation in which the blessed find themselves – poverty in spirit, affliction, hunger and thirst for justice, and so on; and finally, there is the reason for the beatitude, introduced by the conjunction 'why'.”

“It would be nice to learn them by heart in order to have in mind and heart the rules Jesus gives us. Let us heed this fact: the reason for beatitude is not the current situation, but the new condition that the blessed receive as a gift from God ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, [. . .] for they will be comforted [. . .] for they will inherit the land’, and so on.”

"In the third element, which is precisely the reason for happiness, Jesus often uses a passive future: 'they will be comforted', 'they will inherit the earth', 'they will be satisfied', 'they will be forgiven', 'they will be called children of God'.

“But what does the word 'blessed' mean? The original Greek term makarios does not indicate someone who has a full belly or is doing well, but a person who is in a condition of grace, who progresses in God’s grace, who progresses on God’s path.”

“God, to give himself to us, often chooses unthinkable paths, perhaps those of our limits, of our tears, of our defeats. It is the Easter joy of which the Eastern brothers speak, the one that has the stigmata but is alive, has gone through death and experienced the power of God. It is the path that leads to joy. It will do us good today to heed the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-11 and read the Beatitudes, to understand the path that Jesus proposes to us.”

“The Beatitudes,” the Pope noted in greeting French-speaking pilgrims, “teach us that God, to give himself to us, often chooses unthinkable paths, those of our limits, of our tears, of our defeats. Let us ask the Lord for the Spirit of the Beatitudes so that we can experience the power of God, manifested in our daily sufferings.”

In his greeting in Arabic, the pontiff added that the Beatitudes "are a map of life: they do not ask for superhuman actions, but to imitate Jesus in everyday life.”

Finally, in his greeting in Polish, Francis noted that next “Sunday, on the solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord, the Day of Consecrated Life will be celebrated.

“Let us pray for the men and women religious who dedicate themselves to God and to their brothers and sisters in daily service, according to their own charism, so that they may always be faithful witnesses of Christ's saving love. Let us also pray for new vocations to consecrated life.”

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