By Sr Tamsin Mary Geach
The First of a series of talks given at the Studium Catholicum , Helsinki, Lent 2018
(Youtube version here with some extra material)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The chief difference between Christianity and other religions is that Christianity is not a system of thought, according to which you gradually perfect yourself. Rather it is an invitation to relationship with God the Father in the God the Holy Spirit, through God the Son.
Yet here in chapter five of St. Matthew’s Gospel we do have what looks like a systematised programme for action. And so indeed it is, but that is not all that it is. As it says in the Catchism of the Catholic Church,paragraph 1717 ‘The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity.’