Good Morning Beloved!
Jesus and St. Peter are at the Pearly Gates, and there’s a long line of souls waiting to get in. Jesus spots an old man far down the line, and thinks he looks familiar.
When the old man finally gets to the front, Jesus asks, “Excuse me, sir. Where do you come from?”
The old man says, “Oh, I come from a land far far away.”
“Hmmm…What did you do there?” Jesus asks.
“I was a carpenter,” replies the old man.
Jesus, growing excited, asks, “Did you have a son?”
The old man answers, “Well, some says I did, some says I didn’t.”
Jesus jumps up, spreads his arms, and says, “Father?”
The old man squints for a minute, then says, “Pinocchio?”
The Beatitudes Pt. 2
If you recall, we started the discussion on the Beatitudes a few week back. These ‘Blessings’ are part of the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most famous of Jesus’ lessons and some say, a summary of His teachings.
Some people treat the Beatitudes as a New Testament version of the Ten Commandments, and they may be missing the point. Jesus began his ministry with people who felt rejected by, or at best uncomfortable with, the religious faith and structure of their day. They had come to believe that just as there was no place for them in the kingdom of Israel, so there would be no place for them in the kingdom of God.
Jesus wanted to shake them out of their spiritual stupor, to teach them that the mortal challenges that seemed to be defeating them were, in fact, Good News. Feelings of restlessness and discontent are, in Truth, a sign that an awakening has begun.
And isn’t that why and how many of us came to Unity’s teachings? Being discontent with our lives, as they were? Maybe searching for something more? Possibly wanting to believe but not knowing what to believe?
WE could have been on that mount, waiting to hear a message that would take us on a new journey.
For those listening to Jesus, their discontent had nothing to do with theological concepts and everything to do with getting through a day. ‘This can’t be enough’ they were saying; and Jesus’ response was ‘You’re absolutely right. It isn’t nearly enough. And you can begin today to feel more and better expressing in your life.’
So the original Beatitudes are a bridge from the practical challenges of living in this dualistic world to the even more practical spiritual Truth of infinite possibility that is always available to us.,
We talked about what exactly the word ‘Blessed’ might mean. We are reminded that it is often translated, “happy.” But that does not capture all that is intended, primarily because of how we have devalued the term ‘happy’.
Blessed in this sense is an exclamation of the inner joy and peace that comes with being right with your God. You are at peace.
Happiness may indeed be a part of it; but it is a happiness that transcends what happens in the world around us, a happiness that comes to the soul from being favored by God. That is why it can call for rejoicing under intense persecution. In some ways the Jesus’ declaration of “blessed” is a pledge of divine reward for the inner spiritual character of the righteous; in other ways it is His description of the spiritual attitude and state of people who are right with God.
And, again, keep in mind who these messages were intended. The Hebrews who are deep in their traditions, their domestication. He was giving them hope.
Now we look at the Beatitudes and ask ourselves, what do they mean to me?
The first three we already looked at were: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven; Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted; and Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. You can review these online.
DO you remember what they meant to you?
Today we will look at the next three.
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards one’s neighbor will bring peace in your relationships. We say in the Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Jesus reminds us that whatever “you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me (Matthew 25:31-46).”
To have mercy is to be loving and kind to others. This doesn’t mean just being loving and kind to your family and friends but also to those who you might not know and even those you don’t like.
We all like to consider ourselves to be merciful people. And yet the opposite of merciful is judgmental. And the human tendency to judge ourselves and others is the most stressful of all our self-created obstacles to realizing and connecting with God.
If someone else enjoys good fortune, we feel a spasm of judgment that they don’t deserve it – based on a fear that because they are enjoying their good we might be denied ours.
If something unfortunate happens to someone else, we succumb to a pang of relief that it did not happen to us instead. Here we are judging ourselves, being in fear that we will in fact receive the negative energy we think we deserve.
Judging is an insidious process, apt to wear a very righteous mask. But it becomes increasingly uncomfortable and we look for an alternative. The great Hindu writer Patanjali wrote these words: “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, mercy and compassion toward the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and indifference toward the wicked.” Or, as a contemporary writer put it, “Love me or leave me alone. Don’t waste your energy in judging.”
So it comes down to, are you showing mercy in your thoughts as well as your actions. Kind actions coupled with unkind thoughts are hypocrisy dictated by fear. They bless neither the giver nor receiver.
True thought blesses spiritually, mentally and materially.
How do we show mercy? Feed the Hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Comfort the imprisoned, Visit the sick, teach the uninformed, Counsel the doubtful, Comfort the sorrowful, Be patient, Forgive, Pray.
Can you think of any others? (Just sit in silence with someone, hugs, …)
Giving from the heart.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
Righteousness means right conduct as well as right thinking. We are reminded that outside things are merely the expression or out-picturing of our inner thoughts and beliefs. We are reminded that we have been given dominion over our thoughts.
We can only change what is happening out side by changing what’s happening inside. As within, so without.
Here we are being reminded not to be discouraged because we do not overcome everything at once, or if our progress seems slow. We are reminded that if we are stuck or not progressing as fast as we would like, we must be careful to hold only harmonious thoughts.
Take a mental stock of your life and see if you are still thinking wrongly about some part of your life. Is there something wrong in your line of conduct? Is there someone you haven’t forgiven yet? Are you indulging in some sort of political or racial or religious hatred or contempt? Are you jealous about something or someone? Are you holding remorse or regret?
These are thoughts that we must all work on to release. To forgive. To let go.
And we are again reminded how difficult this is. But with our Spiritual Guides, with prayer and contemplation, with meditation and fellow travelers, we can use all that is available to obtain the clarity of mind and so, find righteousness, for ourselves and for all. Being spiritual is impossible on our own. But we can all assist each other and better this world.
We can ALL better our world!
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
Purity means to recognize that God is the only real Cause, the only real Power; the only real Presence in existence.
Heart in the Bible usually means that part we know as the subconscious.
Being pure is like having a clean heart. Like the heart inside of us, it pumps blood and keeps us alive and if something is wrong with our heart it doesn’t work right and we won’t work right.
This simple statement sums up the whole philosophy of our Spiritual journey – to see God, in a spiritual perception…the true nature of being. To experience heaven, which is all around us.
Heaven is the religious name for the presence of God, Divine Mind.
Moses (Exodus 33:20), John 1:18, and Paul (I Timothy 6:16) all say that no one can see God here on earth! But Jesus says the pure of heart shall see God!
To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. To do God’s Will, not our own. Jesus is talking about the place where we think and make choices, ask why we do things, and where our thoughts are born.
The “fall of (hu)mankind” is the limitations we obtained when we were given free will. It is that free will that may be in opposition to God’s Will; that limits our ability to experience Heaven on Earth.
It is our task to overcome those limitations so we can KNOW who and what we truly are – God, expressing through us, each, individually.
Thus, to SEE God.
What a wonderful, beautiful goal! How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain? Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless love, of giving, brings happiness to all.
Truth must be accepted in consciousness as well as the subconscious; assimilated into the whole mentality to make a difference in one’s character or life. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
So, we could rephrase as Emmet Fox has: “Blessed are they who recognize God as the only real Cause, and the only real Presence, and the only real Power; not merely in a theoretical or formal way, but practically, and specifically, and wholeheartedly, in all their thoughts, and words, and actions; and not merely in some parts of their lives, but in every nook and corner of their lives, and mentalities, keeping nothing back from the Divine, but bringing their own wills in every last particular into perfect harmony with Divine’s Will – for they shall overcome all limitation of time and space and matter and carnal mind; and realize and enjoy the Presence of God forever.
WHEW! Powerful stuff.
These three Beatitudes give us a lot to think about. They give us a lot of possibilities to do, to put into action, if we haven’t already.
There is much happening all around us, each and every day. We listen to the news, peruse social media, chat with friends and neighbors…all opportunities to put these Beatitudes into action by watching what we are thinking, saying and doing and what is behind each of these acts.
Yes, powerful stuff. Our responsibility to overcome our fears and move toward the Kingdom of Heaven.