Sunday, January 30, 2011

Picnics and Beatitudes

I loved how Instrument of Your Peace presented the beatitudes this morning:
"Life is as nice as you choose to make it.
"It's not always picnics in the sun.
"I know that.
"Preserver. Everyone has ups and downs, good days and bad days (which sometimes last much longer than a day). Its normal.
"Being happy is just as much about making good things happen, like picnics, and having the right attitude.
"The beatitudes have always seemed to me very much about having the right attitude."

1 When he saw the crowds,
2 he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:..."

* * * * *
I agree that the beatitudes shared in today's gospel reading are definitely a frame of mind. It's about stepping through life with the right attitude. It's about having a picnic when the weather is right or spreading a blanket on the living room floor when it's raining outside. It's about calling weeds a flower. It's about creating a picnic out of five loaves of bread and two fish...literally. It's a backwards slant at our natural impulse and often a detached opinion of the ways we think things are suppose to work. Idioms if you will...

Blessed??? the poor!!!
They who mourn will be comforted?!?!
Those who hunger and thirst! will have their fill?
Blessed??? are the persecuted!!!

And so on.
In today's Magnificat "Day by Day" reading, Fr. Servais Pinckaers, O.P. shares:

"The Fathers saw in the Beatitudes the response of Christ to the question of happiness. When they present Jesus as addressing the philosophers' central question, the question of happiness, they are portraying him as the true sage...

"One cannot fulfill the Sermon on the Mount from constraint, from obligation or from duty. It is only attainble through the way of love, which rests at the center of its teaching and is the first gift of the Spirit. This love makes us free because it makes us act of our own accord, by our own inclination and spiritual enjoyment, in imitation of Christ and according the preferences ofthe Spirit. We cannot, however, enjoy or exercise such freedom unless we have accepted the detachments and purifications that are necessary in order to learn true love and be freed from our selfish instincts. This is the work of the Beatitudes..." ~ Fr. Seervais Pinckaers, O.P.

It's about saying that God is God and we are mere men and women.

The Beatitudes are about accepting this fact, embracing the unchanging limitations that go with it, presenting our weaknesses and deficiencies to God in a bread basket, offering everything up to His unfailing Mercy, Kindness, and Love, and going to the picnic anyway.

There we are guaranteed that our spirits will be fed. If we don't show up, we'll never know what was offered nor how much was given.

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