The Beatitudes as an examination of conscience

by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach

For an audio version of this talk click here

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.

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The Beatitudes as imitatio Christi

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. 

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Simon of Cyrene: Alexander speaks.

by  Sr Ann Catherine Swailes

“And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”

 He wasn’t one for talking, the old man.

And yet, it seemed to me his quiet sang, 

As though a word, some mighty, labouring word

faltered beside him, and he shouldered it

In silence, made that burden his,

Then chanted it throughout his stumbling life.

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Sowing the seed: an exhortation to prayer

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NOTES BY SR.VALERY O.P FROM A COMMUNITY RETREAT  given by Fr. Benedict Jonak O.P Friday Feb.26 2018

Prayer, Fr.Benedict began, is essentially something for spiritual beings: angels and ourselves. Creation as a whole praises God by being the beautiful, ordered thing it is. It praises, but it does not pray. Only spiritual beings, gifted with intellects, are able to communicate with their Maker, are invited, through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, even to be friends of God. Christian prayer is IN JESUS and we offer our prayer with Jesus.

Read more: Sowing the seed: an exhortation to prayer

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