Today’s readings are a source of encouragement and a reminder that we in turn are called to encourage others, because that is the eternal mission of the saints. The Beatitudes Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel are a checklist for seeing whether someone is holy, whether someone is a saint–they’re the attitudes and dispositions we’re called to have. That’s why the Church calls her process of recognizing the heroic sanctity on one of her children a process of beatification, and usually before someone is declared a Saint, they are declared a Blessed. We are all called to be saints, whether the Church officially recognizes it or not: saints encourages others by their example and their intercession in recognition of the encouragement they themselves have received from God, as St. Paul points out so eloquently in the First Reading.
The Beatitudes are also an encouragement for us: if we strive to be poor of spirit we’ll inherit the Kingdom of God. If we mourn we shall be comforted. If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, that hunger and thirst will be satisfied. It’s wonderful to consider how the saints have taken these promises and lived holy lives in completely different ways: no one can deny that there’s a difference of style between saints such as St. Francis, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Philip Neri, and St. Therese of the Child Jesus. If we live these Beatitudes as promises, as Saint John Paul II encouraged us to do in Veritatis Splendor (see n.16), we’ll enjoy a life filled with good works from here to eternity.
Let’s thank Our Lord today for the encouragement he has given us along the path of holiness, both through his own example and the example of the saints, and let’s ask him to help us to be an encouragement to others.
Readings: 2 Corinthians 1:1–7; Psalm 34:2–9; Matthew 5:1–12.