The Beatitudes and the Cross


The Sermon on the Mount - by ROSSELLI, Cosimo - from Cappella Sistina, Vatican

 

eucharist3.gif (9262 bytes) "All my sermons are prepared in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. As recreation is most pleasant and profitable in the sun, so Homiletic Creativity is best nourished before the Eucharist. The most brilliant ideas come from meeting God face-to-face. The Holy Spirit that presided at the Incarnation is the best atmosphere for Illumination. Pope John Paul II keeps a small desk or writing pad near him whenever he is in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament; and I have done this all my life—I am sure for the same reason he does, because a lover always works better when the Beloved is with him".

- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 

The Beatitudes and the Cross

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by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Sermon on the Mount is so much at variance with all that our World holds dear, that the World will Crucify anyone who tries to live up to its Values. Because Christ preached them, He had to Die. Calvary was the Price He Paid for the Sermon on the Mount. Only Mediocrity survives. Those who call black black, and white white, are Sentenced for Intolerance. Only the Grays live.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes)  Let Him come into the World which proclaims the Gospel of the Strong, which advocates Hating our Enemies, which Condemns Christian Virtues as the "Soft" Virtues, and say to that World, "Blessed are the Patient", He will one-day feel the Scourges of the Strong Barbarians laid across His Back; He will be struck on the Cheek by a mocking-fist during one of His Trials; He will see men take a sickle and cut the grass from a hill on Calvary, and then use a hammer to pinion Him to a Cross to test the Patience of One Who endures the Worst that Evil has to offer, that having exhausted Itself, It might eventually turn to Love.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into our World which Ridicules the idea of Sin as Morbidity, considers Reparation for Past Guilt as a Guilt-Complex, and Preach to that World, "Blessed are they who Mourn" for their Sins; and He will be Blindfolded and Mocked as a Fool. They will take His Body and Scourge It, until His Bones can be numbered; they will Crown His Head with Thorns, until He begins to Weep not Salt Tears but Crimson Beads of Blood, as they laugh at the Weakness of Him Who Will not come-down from the Cross.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into the World which denies Absolute Truth, which says that Right and Wrong are only questions of Point-of-View, that we must be broadminded about Virtue and Vice, and let Him say to them, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after Holiness", that is, after the Absolute, after the Truth which "I Am"; and they will in their Broad-Mindedness give the Mob the choice of Him or Barabbas; they will Crucify Him with Thieves, and try to make the World believe that God is no different from a Batch of Robbers who are His Bedfellows in Death.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into a World which says that "my neighbor is Hell", that all which is opposite me is Nothing, that the Ego alone matters, that my Will is Supreme Law, that what I decide is Good, that I must forget others and think only of Myself, and say to them, "Blessed are the Merciful". He will find that He will receive no Mercy; they will open Five (5) Streams of Blood out of His Body; they will pour Vinegar and Gall into His Thirsting Mouth; and, even after His Death, be so Merciless as to Plunge a Spear into His Sacred Heart.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into a World which tries to interpret Man in terms of Sex; which regards Purity as Coldness, Chastity as Frustrated Sex, Self-Containment as Abnormality, and the Union of Husband-and-Wife until Death as Boredom; which says that a Marriage endures only so long as the Glands endure, that one may Unbind what God binds and Unseal what God seals. Say to them, "Blessed are the Pure"; and He will find Himself hanging Naked on a Cross, made a Spectacle to Men and Angels in a last wild crazy affirmation that Purity is Abnormal, that the Virgins are Neurotics, and that Carnality is Right.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into a World which believes that one must resort to every manner of Chicanery and Duplicity in order to Conquer the World, carrying Doves-of-Peace with Stomachs Full of Bombs, say to them, "Blessed are the Peacemakers", or "Blessed are they who eradicate Sin that there may be Peace"; and He will find Himself Surrounded by Men engaged in the Silliest of all Wars- a War against the Son of God; making Violence with Steel and Wood, Pinions and Gall and then Setting-a-Watch over His Grave that He Who lost-the-Battle might not Win-the-Day.

 

crucifix5.jpg (1703 bytes) Let Him come into a World which believes that our whole life should be geared to Flattering and Influencing People for the sake of Utility and Popularity, and say to them: "Blessed are you when Men hate, persecute, and revile you"; and He will find Himself without a Friend in the World, an Outcast on a Hill, with Mobs shouting His Death, and His Flesh hanging from Him like Purple Rags.

 

The Beatitudes cannot be taken alone: they are not Ideals; they are Hard-Facts and Realities inseparable from the Cross of Calvary. What He taught was Self-Crucifixion:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to Love those who Hate us;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to pluck-out-eyes and cut-off-arms in order to prevent Sinning;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to be Clean on the Inside when the Passions clamor for Satisfaction on the Outside;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to Forgive those who would put us to Death;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to overcome Evil with Good;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to Bless those who Curse us;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to stop mouthing Freedom until we have Justice, Truth and Love of God in our Hearts as the condition of Freedom;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to live in the World and still keep oneself Unpolluted from it;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) to Deny ourselves sometimes Legitimate Pleasures in order the better to Crucify our Egotism - all this is to sentence the Old-Man in us to Death.

 

Prayer

Let us Pray:

What ill or evil, Lord, can harm
This joyous heart that You alone can charm?
I love You more with every breath,
So how can I fear life or death?
To love You, Father, is to live and sing
The songs the Angels sing their King.
God alone in every cell of me!
God alone! For all Eternity!

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

 

Audio Clips by Father Andrew Apostoli
on the Eight Beatitudes

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