Beatitudes Vocabulary

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/07/30 at 6:56 AM

Pure in Spirit/Simplicity

The poor in spirit are those who remember that all they are and have is from God and give back to Him whatever He wants of them. We live the virtue of simplicity when we maintain the proper intention in our love for Our Lord.  Simplicity, which is close to humility, will lead us to ask forgiveness often; it leads us to admit and correct our mistakes.

The  spirit of divine sonship means being completely dependent on our Heavenly Father  by abandoning ourselves confidently to his loving Providence, just as a child entrusts everything to its father.  A child does not hold grudges, is ignorant of duplicity or fraud, does not deceive, does not seek revenge, easily forgets, does not store up grievances and has no deep sorrows.

Simplicity is one of the principal manifestations of spiritual childhood. It is the result of becoming defenseless before God like a vulnerable and trusting child before its father. Spiritual childhood always holds to the freshness of love in a soul by not dwelling on adverse experience.

The simple person is not naive yet neither suspicious, prudent but not distrustful. He lives the teaching of the Christ, being wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Thus, the most sublime doctrine becomes accessible to the most simple souls.

The real cause of egotism and selfishness is pride.  It looks at everything from our its own viewpoint and it’s own agenda.  Pride inflates one’s own abilities, aggrandize one’s own qualities and demands the attention of others to them.  Consequently, proud people are egocentric and selfish, not really knowing how to love anyone but themselves, loving only for what they can obtain from others for themselves.

To conquer this vice, we must fix our gaze on Christ, admitting our mistakes and correcting them. Thus, we will grow in humility, thanking God for all the benefits received from Him, allowing ourselves to be helped, seeking advice, stopping excusing our sins and failures, asking forgiveness of those we offend.


Meekness is rooted in spiritual strength, and it is really the meek who are truly strong. Meekness blunts the sharp arrows of anger like a protective shield.  Meekness ignores impatience, irritation, bad tempered and hateful attacks, actions which reveal fundamental weakness.  Meekness sets its face against those pointless displays of violence which at the bottom are really signs of weakness.

Meekness does not waste energy on anger and passes it by in silence or with a smile that is a disarming weapon of defense.  A meek person suffers unjust persecution, remaining serene and humble, not giving way to resentment or discouragement.

A lack of humility and interior peace are at the bottom of irritability.   Explosive irritability corrodes love.  It destroys peace in prayer because it broods over perceived injuries and forgets about God to whom it should appeal for help.

The lack of meekness comes from pride.  To master one’s self is to prevent quick and wounding responses.  Thus, the meek will inherit the earth because they will not be slaves to impatience and bad temper.  Instead, they will be serene in the possession of God with their souls seeking Him in prayer. Through kind-heartedness and understanding the people around them, they will, instead, win friendship and love.

We learn to be humble by meditating on the Passion of our Lord who suffered so many humiliations and by considering His humility in the Holy Eucharist where He waits for us to visit Him and speak with him.  Therefore, we can walk the way of meekness accepting humiliations, accepting our defects and struggling to overcome them.  Then, we will find in Him, who carries the greatest portion of our burdens, a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.


To be clean of heart means to be selfless, viewing all from God’s point of view rather than our own.  This singleness of purpose is putting God first, without self-deception or compromise, keeping the heart healthy and clean so as to please God.

In order to be pure of heart, we need to remove all obstacles. One’s whole being is defiled by what occurs in the heart.  Evil desires and intentions are conceived in the heart before they become an external reality.  It is in the heart that God is either loved or offended.  It is what we speak from the heart that defiles us. We must look for God in every circumstance and purify ourselves by asking forgiveness for our sins and errors.

God himself and His creation can only been seen by those whose intentions and attitudes are good.   God is looking for each one so that a Christian who sincerely searches for Christ will find him because Christ is searching for him.


We will only have mercy in our hearts when we offer mercy, when we forgive, our enemies from the example and with the help of Christ.

Mercy is not simply a matter of giving alms to the poor, but also of being understanding of other people’s defects, overlooking them, helping them not only to cope with them but to love  them despite whatever defects they may have.  Mercy also suffers and rejoices with others.


Peace is a clear sign of God’s nearness and closeness to us.  St. Paul consistently exhorted the first Christians to live in peace, saying that the God of love and peace would be with them. True peace results from holiness. St. Augustine also describes true peace as the tranquility of order.

True peace means being concerned about others, being interested in their plans and projects, their joys and sorrows.  God wants us Christians to bring peace and joy with us wherever we go.  Then, we can say as St. Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthians: “My love be with you in Christ Jesus.”

All the Beatitudes express in figurative language the promised reward of heaven.

So, in conclusion, what does the spirit of the Beatitudes mean to the Christian?  It means viewing the world as Christ views it and then reacting to circumstances as Christ Himself would react.  For us, the real Christian spirit is summarized in the eight Beatitudes and in the life of Our Master to whose likeness we desire to be transformed.


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