“If the human heart represents an unfathomable mystery that only God knows, how much more sublime is the heart of Jesus, in which the life of the Word itself beats. In it, as suggested by the beautiful Litanies of the Sacred Heart that echo the Scriptures, are found all the treasures of wisdom and science and all the fullness of divinity. In order to save man, victim of his own disobedience, God wished to give him a ‘new heart,’ faithful to his will of love. This heart is the heart of Christ, the masterpiece of the Holy Spirit, which began to beat in the virginal womb of Mary and was pierced by the lance on the cross, thus becoming for all the inexhaustible source of eternal life. That Heart is now the pledge of hope for every man.
–Saint John Paul II, Angelus Excerpt, June 24, 2002
Monday, June 8 ~ Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Meditation: The beatitudes which Jesus offers us are a sign of contradiction to the world’s understanding of happiness and joy. How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God’s word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and spiritual oppression. God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: No one can live without joy. That is why a person deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures. Do you know the happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?
Prayer: O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need, may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: So one might ask: What is the “good life?” What is the ultimate end or purpose of life? Is it not happiness, which is none other than the complete good, the sum of all goods, leaving nothing more to be desired? Jesus addresses this question in his sermon on the mount. The word beatitude literally means “happiness” or “blessedness.” What is the significance of Jesus’ beatitudes, and why are they so central to his teaching? The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness that God has placed in every heart. They teach us the final end to which God calls us, namely the coming of God’s kingdom (Matt. 4:17), the vision of God (Matt. 5:8; 1 John 2:1), entering into the joy of the Lord (Matt. 25:21-23) and into his rest (Hebrews 4:7-11). Jesus’ beatitudes also confront us with decisive choices concerning the life we pursue here on earth and the use we make of the goods he puts at our disposal. God alone satisfies. Knowing this, do you seek the highest good, the total good, which is above all else?