by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach
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In Summa Theologiae q69 a3 corpus St Thomas sees the beatitudes as being, among other things, an instantiation of the progress of the Spiritual life: The purgative state – the process of turning away from sin and ceasing to pursue happiness in the wrong place - he sees as belonging to the first three beatitudes. The next two he regards as relating to the life of active virtue, while the final two he sees as relating to prayer. I will discuss this schema in more detail in the third talk. Meanwhile, I want to focus on the Beatitudes as being directed towards our conversion – as capable in general of being used as an examination of conscience, a tool of self-knowledge and a preparation for the sacrament of confession.