Blessed Are You

13 Mar

“A guilty suffering spirit is more open to grace than an apathetic or smug soul.”  ~ Edna Hong, Bread & Wine (day 5)

Whenever I read the Sermon on the Mount passage in the Bible, I form an immediate picture in my mind.  In that passage, Jesus gives what we call The Beatitudes to the people.

I imagine a vast crowd of people looked bewildered and glancing at one another as if to say, “Did I just hear that right?!”  I imagine they turned to their neighbors and said just that or asked them to say what they heard.

After all, what downtrodden people would want to hear blessed are you who are poor, weak, powerless, lonely, suffering, or sorrowing.  That is not the message that they expected to hear, especially from someone that they hoped to be the Messiah.  The Messiah, in their view, was going to be someone that lifted them from their miserable condition in life.  Why would they consider their condition as blessed.

Of course, Jesus knew what He was doing.  He knew that it is only when we are down, weak, and powerless that we can be open to the graces waiting for us from God.  If we are well off, if we have all our needs met, if we are powerful, we can fall into the thought that we don’t really need God, at least not today.

We might become so smug that we even tell God, “I’ve got today covered.  Why don’t you go help someone else.”  We might chuckle at that thought; but, that happens more times than we might care to admit.

Look at your past.  How many times, when things were going extremely well, did you think about going to church or consider praying.  How many times, on the other hand, when things were going badly, did church or prayer become absolute necessities?  It is true. “A guilty suffering spirit is more open to grace than an apathetic or smug soul.”

Yes, blessed are we when times are rough.  Blessed are we when we mourn the loss of a loved one.  Blessed are we when things don’t go our way.  Blessed are we because we are so much more open to the graces that await each and every one of us.  When we suffer, we are quicker to ask for help and more disposed to receive help.

Don’t let the good situation of your life keep you from being open to God and His grace and love.  Lent is all about examining our lives and doing our best to draw closer to God. Allow Him to give you all that your soul needs this day.

FAITH ACTION:  Begin each day asking God to help you recognize how He is present in your daily life and how you may best respond to His love.