Beatitudes (Part III)
By Elaina Simpson, C.S.
I'll put the previous introduction here and then we can jump right in! "Praying for the world can sometimes feel like a big thing to do. Once when I didn't know where to start, it occurred to me to check out the beatitudes. Since then, I've found the beatitudes (or the "blessings) to be a useful guide for praying for the world. Seeing them spiritually illumines them and proves just how useful they are. It's always going to be the same Truth, but each beatitude will mean something special to each individual in their unique time of need-- Bringing new and fresh revelations. So needless to say, there is no right or wrong way to look at these. I've found it helpful to unpack each beatitude looking at it's spiritual meaning. For my own notes, I found it useful to look to Mary Baker Eddy's (discover and founder of Christian Science) writings to find complimentary parallels that portray each beatitude. Although we do not know if she was referring exactly to the beatitudes when she wrote these verses, these verses certainly expand on and fulfill the beatitudes." 5.) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. What does "mercy" really mean? In the dictionary, one finds that mercy means forgiveness and compassion shown towards someone. Mercy is about an out-pouring of love. It's not about a hardened heart, or about emotional walls put up. Staying merciful, this beatitude or "blessing" promises that we retain mercy. Because we express God's mercy, we naturally and effortlessly are merciful to others. Not only that, but we are also merciful to ourselves. Meaning that a cold, unforgiving, self-condemning, guilty, or ruminating thought is not natural.
Obtaining mercy: Whether thinking about ourself or others, it's helpful to note that because God is merciful, our expression of mercy comes straight from God. God is the source of mercy. Instead of looking to other humans as the source of mercy, it helps to pray about our relationship with God first. Sometimes it feels tempting to get mentally worked up about what others are thinking about and how to handle a specific relationship. But once we glimpse this truth about mercy in our relationship with God, we find that other relationships naturally fall into place. This "blessing" really promises that point. As we are merciful (in our expression of God) we also must obtain mercy. Mary Baker Eddy quotes Psalm 23 in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This also points to the promise of everlasting mercy for ourselves and others; "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever." (578:16) With mercy 'follow[ing]' us, we also dwell in the house (consciousness) of the Love (forgiveness, compassion). Again, the beautiful promise of being 'merciful' and 'obtain[ing] mercy.' We can actually dwell in the consciousness of Love, without the distractions of guilt, fear, or any ruminating suggestion. And, if we feel we could extend a little forgiveness or compassion to one of our friends or neighbors, we see that this is natural because of our expression of Love. (Side note: We do not have to forgive or accept the error/erroneous action, but separating error from person, we forgive the person naturally.)
Sometimes, this beatitude feels easy to say, but difficult to achieve. That's okay. That's what the beatitudes are here for! To be little reminders, meant to be studied and read, not to be put up on a shelf forever and never looked at. :) 6.) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Starting with 'pure in heart' or purity... There aren't many words Mary Baker Eddy uses to describe a 'constant prayer,' but purity (essentially, being pure in heart) is one of them: "Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers."
(SH 15:26–27) With purity (in "heart" or in thought), this "blessing" promises that we 'see God.' This analogy is helpful: When a body of water is pure, you can see through to the bottom clearly. So, it makes sense why purity of thought helps us see God. It's not about trying to see a distant God, but about a purity of consciousness, in our natural expression of God as Mind. Thinking about the promise of seeing God (Love's allness), the definition of eyes is helpful: "EYES. Spiritual discernment, — not material but mental.
Jesus said, thinking of the outward vision, “Having eyes, see ye not?” (Mark viii. 18.)"
(SH 586:3–6) This helps us see that it's our purity of thought that helps us see God, but not with material eyes. Our purity of thought invites 'spiritual discernment,' or the ability to 'see' God. What a helpful blessing! ___ For updates on future posts, you can subscribe here.