Beatitudes (Part IV)
By: Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Good Evening! :) Again, I'll put the previous introduction here and then get into the last two beatitudes. "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." *I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago and while I reread it, I am realizing just what a helpful reminder these beatitudes are! I'll be rereading this with you tonight. Thanks for being 'with' me.* 7.) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Regarding 'peace,' Mary Baker Eddy quotes the Bible: "Therefore 'acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.'" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 324:7–12)
'Acquaint[ing]' ourselves with God, understanding our oneness with God and learning more about God in prayer, brings peace.
Quoting this beatitude, Eddy adds in addition, "... the demand of this age is for peacemaking..." (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, 40:15–16)
Easier said than done sometimes, huh? :) As I say, these books are meant to be used! Demonstrating our God-given ability to be peacemakers, we also act as the offspring, or children of our only Source, God. In our peacemaking, we represent our Source, divine Love. So what if you're in a situation where it feels nearly impossible to be a peacemaker? Christ Jesus tells us the "Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19) So, we are peacemakers in God and in God alone. It takes a yielding in thought, to start to glimpse this fact. Okay... For the "Children of God..." In Science and Health we find the Bible-derived, spiritual definition of "Children." "CHILDREN. The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love.
(SH 582:28) Representing God ('Life, Truth, and Love'), we are natural peacemakers. Peacemakers are children of God, the representatives of Love. That means anything opposite to God, is not what a peacemaker is... And is not YOU! Self-will, self-justification, blame, the pointing of the fingers, dishonesty or deceit, self-righteousness...etc. And what a constant, humble prayer this is, especially in the midst of seeming challenges. Christ Jesus exuded this child-like peacemaking. When a woman had done wrong against Mosaic law, the Pharisees were ready to put her in front of everyone to stone her. In their revenge, they wanted her to really feel her mistakes through her humiliation and possibly death. Jesus demonstrated this beatitude in action. "...he lifted up himself, [lifted his thought above the problem and person]" and said unto them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." If Jesus saw the error or erroneous act as a part of her true identity (how God made her), he wouldn't have been an effective peacemaker in the situation. He mentally separated her from the actions. It didn't matter how long she had done wrong for, or if she should have known better.
The Christ is always here with us, and it is the "mediator," and the only peacemaker, spiritually speaking. We each express this Christ quality. He didn't have to go in there and figure out the scores and tallies. He saw man as faultless, and this blessed the entire situation and those watching. He didn't have to ask the Pharisees about her crime, he didn't talk about it or condemn her for it, he didn't even have to ask her if she was sorry. He got passed the accusations and human labels, Christ Jesus saw her as a "child" (representative of Truth and Love) of God. No matter what we feel we are up against, we each have same forgiving mentality of the Christ. (I don't know about you all, but I have to be reminded of this daily!) He didn't spurn, judge, or even talk to her. He simply said, "Go, [be free from the human punishment and false sense of self] and sin no more." Jesus was so clear of this woman's true nature, he just loved her. This same child-like, peacemaking mentality, is a daily prayer for all. Here is the dictionary definition of peacemaker and Christ consciousness demonstrates this definition: "A person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries." In our spiritual peacemaking, we can leave it all to God, with child-like trust, as Jesus did. Trusting that, "Divine Love corrects and governs man." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 6:3 (only)) In our love for others, we demonstrate who we already are, "the children of God."
8.) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Persecution" means by definition, "to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflicts... to cause to suffer because of belief." "Righteousness", tends to point to not just doing right, but doing the will of God.
Eddy writes about this beatitude, pointing to not only its importance, but its relevance to today: (Bold is my doing.) ---"To suppose that persecution for righteousness' sake belongs to the past, and that Christianity to-day is at peace with the world because it is honored by sects and societies, is to mistake the very nature of religion. Error repeats itself. The trials encountered by prophet, disciple, and apostle, 'of whom the world was not worthy,' await, in some form, every pioneer of truth." (SH 28:24-31)
---"There is too much animal courage in society and not sufficient moral courage. Christians must take up arms against error at home and abroad. They must grapple with sin in themselves and in others, and continue this warfare until they have finished their course. If they keep the faith, they will have the crown of rejoicing." (SH 8:24–6)
Looking up the root word 'blessed,' from the original Greek, we find that to be blessed is synonymous for being "happy." Even in the times before we see the crown (or the victory) regarding a seeming challenge, we can still remain happy while taking up the cross-- No matter what. So, 'grapp[ling] with sin', taking up the cross, we are promised the crown, or the "kingdom of heaven."
Regarding our work towards victory (the crown, kingdom of heaven), Eddy writes: "At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." (SH 571:15–19)
Clad in the 'panoply of Love', and being out of 'reach,' to me, echos the idea that we can be 'happy' and 'blessed' no matter what. Taking up the cross (even when persecuted for righteousness' sake), we can still remain blessed and happy. In fact, we are promised the 'kingdom of heaven.' So, we don't need to fear persecution for our beliefs.
"KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme."
(SH 590:1) With the kingdom of heaven 'within,' we don't have to fear persecution. I love what Mrs. Eddy writes here, that reminds me that we don't need to be afraid of judgement or persecution: "...At present mortals progress slowly for fear of being thought ridiculous. They are slaves to fashion, pride, and sense." (SH 67:30–4) With this kingdom of heaven, we can remain 'happy,' no matter what is going on. Taking up the cross mentally, holding mentally to that 'kingdom of heaven,' we see the crown. _______ For updates on future posts, you can subscribe here.