Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Beatitudes of Contemplation and Union withh God. - part 4.

That we may not be troubled by painful and unexpected events, that we may receive all from the hand of God as a means or an occasion of going to Him, we need great docility to the Holy Ghost, who wishes to give us progressively the contemplation of divine things, the requisite for union with God. Hence we receives in baptism the gift of wisdom, which has grown in us by confirmation and frequent Holy Communion. The inspirations of the gift of wisdom give us radiating peace, not only for ourselves but for our neighbour. They make us peacemakers; they help us to calm troubled souls, to love our enemies, to find the words of reconciliation which put an end to strifes. This peace, which the world cannot give, is the mark of the true children of God, who never lose the thought of their Father in heaven. St Thomas even says of these beatitudes: "They are a kind of preparation for future happiness."(Ia IIae, q.69, a.2). Lasly in the eight beatitude, the most perfect of all, Christ shows that all He has said is greatly confirmed by affliction borne with love: "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The final trials especially, the requisites for sanctity, are indicated here. Christ's surprising statement had never been heard before. Not only does it promise future happiness, but it declares that a soul should consider itself happy even in the midst of afflictions and persecutions suffered for justice. This is an altogether supernatural beatitude, which is practically understood only by souls enlightened by God. There are, moreover, many spiritual degrees in this state, from that of the good Christian who begins to suffer for having acted well, obeyed, and given good example, up to the martyr who dies for the faith. This beatitude applies to those who, converted to a better life, encounter only opposition in their surroundings. It applies also to the apostle whose action is hindered by the very people he wishes to save, when they will not pardon him for having spoken the Gospel truth too clearly. Entire countries sometimes endure this persecution, such as the Vedee during French revolution, Armenia, Poland, Mexico, and Spain.
This beatitude is the most perfect because it is that of those who are most clearly marked in the image of Jesus crucified. To remain humble, meek, and merciful in the midst of persecution, even toward persecutors, and in the midst of torment not only preserve peace but to communicate it to others, is truly the full perfection of Christian life. It is realized especially in the last trials undergone by perfect souls which God purifies by making them work for the salvation of their neighbour. All the saints have not been martyrs, but they have, in varying degrees, suffered persecution for justice' sake, and they have known something of that martydrom of the heart which made Mary the Mother of Sorrows. Christ insists on the reward promised to those who thus suffer for justice: "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, your reward is very great in heaven"

to be continued.