Saturday, October 3, 2009

Refocusing on the Beatitudes

My resolution for this month is to refocus on the Beatitudes, taken from Matthew 7:24-27. To set the tone for this post, I want to highlight only the first phrase from this passage:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them . . .

It is critical to consider that the last words we have in the Sermon on the Mount are a very clear call to ACTION - a re-statement of the idea that not all who cite His name actually do His will and produce righteous fruit of the true vine. In that vein, as I recap the Sermon on the Mount at the end of this two-year resolution, I want to focus specifically on what "these sayings of mine" are - to identify exactly what Jesus meant in the final four verses of this wonderful sermon and, for the rest of this month, excerpt some of the things I have learned about some of those things. I also want to highlight each one in a way that draws it back to the exhortation to be someone who not only heareth but also doeth them.


Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Are you a little more humble than you were a year ago?

Blessed are they that mourn.

Do you mourn (particularly with those who mourn) a little more than you did a year ago?

Blessed are the meek.

Are you a little meeker (more gentle, forgiving and benevolent) than you were a year ago?

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Do you crave righteousness a little more than you did a year ago?

Blessed are the merciful.

Are you a little more merciful (more compassionate, more willing to not punish others for their actions, more ready to let things go that bother you) than you were a year ago?

Blessed are the pure in heart.

Is your heart a little cleaner and more purified than it was a year ago?

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Is there a little more peace in your own soul, and do you bring a little more peace to those with whom you associate, than you did a year ago?

The time-line I have chosen is an arbitrary one, and I'm NOT suggesting that we must answer each and every question affirmatively in order to be following the admonition to do what we hear, but I believe strongly that we must be able to answer positively to at least SOME of the questions posed above (or others in the same vein) in order to be "faithful" and "repentant" as represented by the imagery of the wise man and his rock-built-upon house. I love Pres. Hinckley's plea to do a little more and be a little better, but I am convinced that the key is a constant and conscious movement forward - no matter the pace.


Michaela Stephens said...

It seems that we're both going back to the Beattitudes. You asked some great questions and it was nice to do some soul searching about them.

Anonymous said...

What a great object lesson in using scripture in an edifying manner.It's also a great reminder of the values by which I can measure my progress rather than the kind of nit picking perfectionism that can so distract me.

Thanks for helping me clarify real measures of progress,and be a little kinder to myself.