On November 1, 2016, Pope Francis offered his own updated version of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are eight instances of cause and effect, given by a poor carpenter as he spoke to a crowd gathered on a hillside thousands of years ago. Their named comes from the Latin “beatitude” which means happiness. Each instance references something from the Old Testament but with a twist in its interpretation. Pope Francis offered his own take with six new beatitudes.
The need for us to recognize this cause and effect is as necessary today as it was almost two thousand years ago. In our modern world we see cause and effect every day. The most striking examples are the suicide bombings which are prevalent worldwide. These bombings are said to be based in religious teachings yet they offer no real restitution to those they purportedly are defending and their effect contributes to further dislike and discrimination of said groups of people. They certainly do not follow the teachings of Islam. Instead, paraphrasing Pope Francis, Islam would be better served as would all types of religion, especially Christianity and Judaism, if we stayed true to the teachings instead of responding with hatred and fear. “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.”
We tend to think of such writings as the Beatitudes are being out of date and yet, they are very applicable to world events. Perhaps this is why Pope Francis mentioned “Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.”
As I have mentioned so many times, life is messy and living in today’s world is not easy. Instead of fearing each other, we need to remember just how close we really are and in spite of our differences, recognize Creation in all we see. “Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.” Perhaps there are those who do not believe in a God of any sorts. I would suggest to them to substitute the word Creation for God. The fact is clear from a biological and genetic point of view that we are all reflections of each other. We share a great deal.
Pope Francis continued with two more: “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.” Again, don’t think of just your physical abode but of our home, Mother Earth. And finally, Pope Francis concluded with “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion.”
Communion is not just something that happens during a mass or Eucharist church service. Communion is relationship and hopefully, unity. We are all in a relationship with each other whether we recognize that or not. Not all relationships are great. The connections we make, the interactions we have…These make up the brunt of our living. Shouldn’t we try to make them as effective as possible?
We need to stop trying to give an eye for an eye and start showing kindness. Period. Not just be kind to those we perceive as being kind to us but be kind to all. We need to not see just our differences but embrace them for the wonderful diversity and excitement they bring to life. When we see the abandoned or excluded, we need to reach out and embrace them. We share so much in common and there is beauty in all of Creation including those who might have been pushed to the outside. We should respect all who offer our life and homes protection as well as those who are protecting our home, Mother Earth. We needs to give thanks for those willing to put themselves last and us first and for those who go that extra mile to engage in relationships with all of humanity.
Who can say they stand on the pedestal of right all the time? Who can say who should have to live on the left of normal? None of us is better than the least of us. A rose by any other name…is still a flower. Blessed are they who truly embrace their living for they… live.