Hear the Cry
The following is the second part of a nine-part Advent series on the Beatitudes, which are found in the opening section of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. The Church considers the Beatitudes the very heart of Jesus' preaching.
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Mt 5:4).
The Beatitudes are supposed to be about blessedness, about the things that make a person happy. Why on earth would those who mourn be called blessed?
Because the world isn't right, and we need to remember that. There are many who are persecuted, many oppressed, many suffering for no other reason than the color of their skin, the fact that they haven't been born yet, their age or health, for a million and one reasons that aren't really reasons at all. When so many are suffering for so little reason, there's something wrong with us if we don't mourn the injustice and the suffering caused by this fallen world, by our sins and the sins of our human brethren.
According to Pope Francis, one of the greatest dangers in the Christian life is to become comfortable and at home in this life. That leads to complacency, to a sense that everything is all right because I'm all right.
That's selfishness, not contentment with one's lot. That's evidence of a hardened heart, not of a heart given over to love even at the cost of pain.
No, we are called to compassion, not to comfort; to mercy, not complacency. As Jesus told Faustina, "I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
"I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy" (Diary, 742).
"Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul.
"If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (Diary, 1317).
Let us hear the cry of the poor this Advent and embrace the spirit of Christmas, which is the spirit of self-giving love, the Holy Spirit of the Trinity. Let us do what we can by deed, word, and prayer for the materially and spiritually poor so that we may receive the blessing promised to those who mourn, and, in our turn, be the promised comfort to others.
• Part One: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
• Part Two: "Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."
• Part Three: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land."
• Part Four: "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
• Part Five: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
• Part Six: "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God."
• Part Seven: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
• Part Eight: "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."