Monday, January 08, 2007

The Beatitudes of the Active life of the Christian. - part 3.

There are other holy joys which the just man finds when, freed from evil, he seeks the good with his whole heart. The man of action, who allows himself to be carried away by pride, declares that happy is that man who lives and acts as he pleases, who is not subject to anyone, and who imposes his will on others. Christ says:
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice". Justice, in the broad sense of the word, consists in rendering to God what is due to Him, and then for the love of God giving also to the creature what is due to him. In recompense, the Lord gives Himself to us. This is the perfect order, in perfect obedience that is inspired by love which enlarges the heart. Blessed are they who desire this justice, even to the extent of hungering and thirsting for it. In certain sense, they will be filled even in this life by becoming more just and more holy. This is a blessed thirst, for Christ says: "If any man thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth in Me, as Scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:37. That we may keep this thirst when sensible enthusiasm falls away, and preserve this hunger and thirst for justice in the midst of contradictions, hindrances, and disillusions, we must receive with dosility the inspirations of the gift of fortitude. This gift prevents us from weakening, from letting ourselves be disheartened, and it lifts up our courage in the midst of difficulties. St Thomas says: "The Lord wishes to see us hunger and thirst for this justice to such an extent that we can never be satisfied in this life, as the miser never has enough gold." These hungering souls "will be satiated only in the eternal vision, and on this earth in spiritual goods....When man are in state of sin, they do not experience this spiritual hunger: when that are free from all sin, they then experiance it." St Thomas In Matth 5:6.
In a Christian's action this hunger and thirst for justice should not be accompanied by a bitter zeal toward the guilty. Therefore Christ adds; "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy". In our life, as also in that of God, justice and mercy should be united. We cannot be perfect without going to the help of the afflicted, of the sick, as the good Samaritan did. the Lord will give the hundredfold to those who give a glass of water for love of Him, to those inviting to their table the poor, the crippled, the blind, who are mentioned in the parable of the guests. The Christian should be happier to give than to receive. He ought to pardon offenses, that is, to give to those who also have offended him more than is due them; he ought to forget insults and , before offering his gifts at the altar, go and be reconciled with his brother. The gift of councel inclines us to mercy, makes us attentive to the sufferings of others, makes us find the true remedy, the word that consoles and uplifts.
If our activity were frequently inspired by these two virtues of justice and mercy and by gifts corresponding to them, our souls would find even here on earth a holy joy and would be truly disposed to enter the intimacy of God.