Our Lord, Jesus Christ, giving the beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us the eight Beatitudes, eight attitudes or dispositions that should characterise every follower of Christ, of whom they are a portrait. In this meditation we consider how:
The Beatitudes should characterise every Christian
At the beginning of another year, we use texts of Scripture and St Josemaria Escriva to pray about what our goals and resolutions might be, especially that most important goal of growing in holiness so as to deserve eternal life with God in heaven. We consider:
The very reason for our existence is to know, love and serve God on earth in order to be happy with him forever in heaven
We should make good use of every moment of the day since we don’t know how long God has given us on this earth
Many souls depend on the life of each of us
Holiness is a struggle, a battle, against the world, the flesh and the devil
We should have the determination of athletes, who discipline themselves and train hard to win a crown that fades, whereas ours is imperishable: eternal life.
One of the most consoling truths of our faith is the reality of the Communion of Saints – the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church suffering in purgatory, and the Church militant on earth, all helping one another. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism, St Bernard, St Thomas More, St Therese of Lisieux and St Josemaria to consider how:
The saints in heaven “fix the Church more firmly in holiness” by their example and prayer for us
We should have as the goal of our life to be with them for all eternity
The souls in purgatory suffer greatly and are exceedingly happy, relying on our prayer for them and interceding for us before God
In the Church militant, we are helped by the prayers of all in this Communion and we should feel responsible to help the others by our struggle for holiness and our prayers and works.
With God and Christian values being pushed more and more out of our laws, culture and lives, people agree that the world is not in a good place. But what can be done to change this? In this meditation we use texts of the Second Vatican Council, St John Paul II, St Josemaria and Edmund Burke to consider how:
Christ sent twelve apostles out to the whole world and they transformed the Roman Empire
Society is transformed through man, through each person
God will do the work but he needs us to help him
We begin by struggling for holiness
We can help parents to bring up their children in faith and values
We can help politicians, journalists, teachers and others to have good values
We can join political parties, professional associations and pro-life groups
Jesus warned his followers on one occasion that they would be hated and persecuted for the sake of his name. Today this is happening on a grand scale, in part because the Catholic Church is the largest single religion in the world and in part because the Church stands firmly for what the world is against: the sanctity of life and of marriage, the importance of chastity, the rights of parents in the education of their children… In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate to consider how:
The Church is being attacked for its stand on many issues
The world needs what the Church teaches in order to find the happiness and peace it desires
We must learn what the Church teaches and defend this teaching with charity and strength
We must seek holiness, “the most attractive face of the Church” in order to show the world the beauty of our faith and to avoid being swept along by the current of the world
Pope Francis has given the Church the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”) on the call to holiness in today’s world. Today’s world is very much in need of holiness as it distances itself ever more from God, and the Pope proposes a way of holiness for everyone, for the “middle class”. In this meditation we use this document to consider how:
We are all called to holiness since God has loved each one of us and we should love him in return.
Many think only a few extraordinary people are called to sanctity and that it is sufficient for the rest to limit themselves to being good. But God has loved everyone and he wants all to love him with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength. All are called to sanctity and sanctity is within the reach of all. In this meditation we will consider how:
God has called each and everyone from all eternity to fulfill a mission
Christ loves everyone and he wants all to love him in return
To bear fruit we must be branches very united to the vine who is Christ
We are united to Christ through prayer, penance, the sacraments and fulfilling his will
St Josemaria used to say that if you want to be happy, be holy; very happy, very holy; extremely happy, extremely holy. We all want to be happy, and holiness is the answer. But what is holiness, and how can the average person in the world be holy? This meditation sheds light on these questions.