We can’t help but be particular. Because of how and where we were raised we have a standard for living and a built in expectation that things should be the way we know them to be and when they’re not we have to adjust. My mom always put raisins in her stuffing. Everything thanksgiving I would look forward to the glorious spread of food, but the stuffing, no amount of gravy could really compensate for those pesky raisins. The first time I had stuffing from someone other than my mother that was raisin free, thanksgiving was changed forever, because I knew it could be more, I knew stuffing could be redeemed. Was I able to persuade my mother to embark on the culinary masterpiece of stuffing without raisins, to date I am still waiting, but with prayer I believe all things are possible.
It’s one thing to share different recipes or have different family traditions it’s entirely different to live life from another’s perspective. Jeffery and Clifford Azize do just that in a fascinating film entitled the Human Experience. They spend the better part of a year immersed in 3 completely distinct and easily forgotten sub-cultures present on our planet today. They visit and live with the homeless on the streets of Brooklyn, they work with and discover an orphan village in Peru, and they encounter an isolated community of lepers in the plains of Ghana, Africa. What they find from their travels and experiences is that those people who we would write off or maybe never give the time of day are really the exact people who have the world’s wisdom and knowledge written in the core of their being. They are the people of beatitude.
These 8 blessings that Jesus proclaims from the mountainside are not rigid platitudes that take the place of Moses’ 10 commandments, but rather they are the proposed opportunity for all people to find out the true meaning of life. They are the path to fulfillment when we want to find it not in what we can do for ourselves, but when we decide to commit to making our existence about the one who gave us the very breathe in our lungs.
Rather than working through each one line by line, I say we instead focus in on what it takes to even begin to see them as a possibility for consideration, for actually taking them serious rather than hearing them and saying, “Oh that’s nice” “Jesus you’re so good at saying holy things.” Wouldn’t it be different if we took the holy things He said and made them real in our lives?
Our starting place will always be humility. St. Augustine said the 3 most important virtues are: humility, humility, and humility. He said that if one does not have humility all of our other efforts will be meaningless and that the reason why one does not have faith is because one is not humble first. This is how God chooses the foolish, the weak, and the lowly of the world to inform and enlighten us who just think we got it all together. Their life in so many ways is blessed and ours can be too when we humble ourselves to see as God sees. For those who have very little—everything they have is a treasure, for us who have everything we want—even what we have is not enough. To be humble is to act like each day is a gift rather than to take it for
granted, it is the desire to learn something new about the people we meet or know honoring them for the creation of God they are, and it’s the surrender to allow God to be enough for us.
I invite you this week to dust off your Bibles and pray with the beatitudes as found in the Gospel of Matthew, even if you are confused or don’t understand fully what you are reading simply be humble and give God the chance to explain them to you. When we pray, when we listen, when we invite God into our lives that’s when everything becomes different.