The Devil’s Cross

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’s sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 By the time we reach this capstone of the Beatitudes, it has long been evident that true happiness is inseparable from suffering. Of course, Christ continually refers us to the “kingdom of heaven,” in which our sacrificesContinue reading “The Devil’s Cross”

Fighting for Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 As Father Kirby reminds us, St. Augustine defined peace as the “tranquility of order.” In its proper place, including right relations with other creatures, every being is good. Only the disorder produced by ripping a thing out of its properContinue reading “Fighting for Peace”

Obtaining Mercy

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 As Fr. Kirby notes, “many contemporary views falsely define mercy as a clean slate without accountability or consequences.” Were this true, mercy would constitute a violation of justice, and one or the other would cease being a virtue. Since justice and mercy are inContinue reading “Obtaining Mercy”

Hungering for Holiness

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Matthew 5:6 In classical philosophy, and in sacred scripture, justice is more (but never less!) than giving to each his due. Or rather, justice looks beyond what is owed in a mundane reckoning. Since every being, consciously or unconsciously, seeksContinue reading “Hungering for Holiness”

Good Mourning

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:5 While poverty of spirit regulates our desire for what is good, and meekness governs our opposition to what is evil, mourning guides our response to those evils we cannot help enduring. Though suffering is not in itself good, St. Paul notes that “tribulationContinue reading “Good Mourning”

The Blessings of Poverty

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Strictly speaking, poverty—a lack of goods—is not good. As with each of the beatitudes, our Lord’s blessing of those who are “poor” (Lk. 6:20), or even “poor in spirit,” contains a paradox. Come to think of it, a paradox—an apparentContinue reading “The Blessings of Poverty”

Accepting the Gift of Happiness

The lawgiver shall give a blessing, They shall go from virtue to virtue: The God of gods shall be seen in Sion. Psalm 83:8 In Plato’s Gorgias, the ambitious Callicles accuses Socrates of turning human life upside down with his teaching that happiness consists in a life of virtue. To our fallen, grasping souls, itContinue reading “Accepting the Gift of Happiness”