THE BEATITUDES (Matthew
To go to heaven one must be a saint.
There are different degrees of holiness. Though all saints are holy,
there are those who are holier than others. And the difference in
their holiness depends upon the level of Beatitude they have
The first Beatitude is the lowest
degree of holiness and the eighth is the highest. One cannot go to
the second Beatitude without first going through the first. The
Beatitudes, therefore, demonstrate the different degrees of holiness
attainable. Note that the Kingdom of heaven is promised to those who
reach even only the first Beatitude.
Before Christ taught the
Beatitudes, He brought His listeners to a mountainside. . . showing
us that the things of God and the way to heaven cannot be learned in
the midst of business of city life. We have to leave this busy city
way of life to learn the way to salvation.
The mountainside is a symbol of the
monastic life. But this is no guarantee that the soul will learn
and, much less, be saved. For in the mountainside Christ was
followed by both the multitude and the disciples. The multitude are
those who cannot learn while the disciples are those who learn--the
multitude, because they went not to learn but to receive miracles;
the disciples went to learn.
And so, in monasteries and
convents, there are religious who belong to the multitude and those
who are disciples. More are like the multitude in that they entered
for other reasons than to learn how to be holy. Others could have
entered for the right reasons but lost their goal along the way.
The same thing could happen during
Mass. The Gospel is read and explained, whether well or not is
immaterial. But because the minds of the laymen are on everything
except learning how to please God, they leave the Church learning
nothing. So they know nothing about how to save their souls. How can
they be saved?
This is the present state of most
Christians today. They want to learn so many things; but how to
please God is not one of them. If they ever go to religion, it is
for healing and favors. They go to Church that God may please them
and not for them to learn how to please God. They are just like the
multitude who followed Christ but learned nothing. And so at the
slightest hardship they stopped following Christ.