Steve and Linda Jo Harvey

"The peace of God that passes all understanding..." Phil 4:7

Eight Beatitudes of Jesus

Jesus Christ gave us the eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded for all posterity in the Gospel of Matthew, the first Book of the New Testament of the Bible.  Matthew’s Gospel was directed to an audience steeped in Hebrew tradition.  The Matthew of Gospel stressed that Jesus Christ is the Messiah foretold in Hebrew Scripture, our Old Testament, and that the Kingdom of the Messiah is the Kingdom of God in Heaven.  Jesus offers us a way of life that promises eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the Old Testament Book of Exodus, related a series of “Thou shalt not” phrases, evils one must avoid in daily life on earth.  In contrast, the message of Jesus is one of humility, charity, and brotherly love.  He teaches transformation of the inner person.  Jesus presents the Beatitudes in a positive sense, virtues in life which will ultimately lead to reward.  Love becomes the motivation for the Christian.  All of the Beatitudes have an eschatological meaning, that is, they promise us salvation – not in this world, but in the next.  The Beatitudes initiate one of the main themes of Matthew’s Gospel that the Kingdom so long awaited in the Old Testament is not of this world, but of the next, the Kingdom of Heaven.

While the Beatitudes of Jesus provide a way of life that promises salvation, they also provide peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations on this earth.



“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

“Poor in spirit” means to be humble.  Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God.  To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to the Word of God.  When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble.  Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God.  He who humbles himself is able to accept our frail nature, to repent, and to allow the grace of God to lead us to Conversion.

It is pride, the opposite of humility that brings misery.  For pride brings anger and the seeking of revenge, especially when one is offended.  If every man were humble and poor in spirit, there would be no war!

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

If we are humble and appreciate that all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and gratitude for Jesus Christ our Savior.  But this can only produce mourning and regret over our sins and the sins of this world, for we have hurt the one who has been so good to us.  One also mourns for the suffering of others.

St. Gregory describes another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Divine Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, and then realize the poverty of human nature, man can only be left in sorrow.  When one contemplates that we were made in the image and likeness of God and lived in Paradise, the Garden of Eden, and compare that our present state after the Fall, one can only mourn our present condition.  But the sentence continues that they shall be comforted, by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and hopefully one day in the kingdom of Heaven.

Mourning in this context is called a blessing, because mourning our fallen nature creates in us a desire to improve ourselves and to do what is right.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

A humble person becomes meek, gentle, and kind, and exhibits a docility of spirit, even in the face of adversity and hardship.  A person that is meek is one that exhibits self-control.  St. Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and not resist but to be obedient to Him.  Obedience and submission to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days, but they will bring one peace in this world and in the next.

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for the righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

A continuous desire for justice and moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire – a transition and conversion to holiness.  This is true for all the virtues – if you hunger and thirst for temperance, you will head towards the goal you have in mind.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress.  Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards one’s neighbor will bring peace in your relationships.  We say in the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  As we are merciful to others, so our Heavenly Father will be merciful with us!  Jesus reminds us that whatever “you did to the least of our brethren, you did it to me (Matthew 25:31-46).”

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

Moses (Exodus 33:20), John (1:18), and Paul (I Timothy 6:16) all say that no one can see God here on earth!  But Jesus says the pure of heart shall see God.  To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires.  What a beautiful goal.  How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain?  Such an act is pure love.  An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”

Peacemakers not only live peaceful lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others, and to preserve peace between God and man.   A peacemaker is a man who brings peace to another; but one cannot give to another, what he does not possess himself.  Hence the Lord wants you first to be yourself filled with the blessings of peace and then to communicate it to those who have need of it.  By imitating God’s love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Jesus said many times that those who follow Him will be persecuted.  “If they persecute me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20-21).  Many have suffered and died in the name of Jesus Christ on this earth but their reward will be an eternity in Heaven with Him.  How great is that?!