15 Grace and the Beatitudes

posted 19 Mar 2013, 11:00 by P W   [ updated 19 Mar 2013, 14:49 ]


From "thou shalt not" to the life of Grace

Jesus pointed out to the Rich Young Man that  keeping the commandments, good though that it, is not quite enough. Something more is needed. 
That is why the commandments are so often negative - "thou shalt not". They are found in reason, and "natural law". A life based on God must go further. We call this the life of Grace. 

What is Grace?  

Grace refers to the Gifts of God which change our lives. Jesus says to us "Be perfect as God your Father is perfect". The only way of being perfect is through the Grace of God. The Grace we receive in this life, through the sacraments and other actions of God, leads us to the life of heaven. 
We become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), "co-heirs of Christ" (Romans 8:17) and "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corninthians 3:16).

The Life of Grace

St Thomas Aquinas said “Grace perfects nature”. So, the life of Grace is not different from, or similar to the life of Nature, but rather it perfects it. 

LIFE OF NATURE

LIFE OF GRACE

 Natural birth   Baptism
  Philosophical virtues
such as prudence
 Theological virtues
(faith, hope, charity)
 Food and drink  The Eucharist
 Human society  The Church
 Growth to adulthood  Growth in holiness
 Human happiness  The vision of God


The Beatitudes 

In the eight beatitudes (blessings), Jesus taught how the life of heaven can be made visible in our earthly life, bringing a promise and foretaste of joy even when there is earthly suffering. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
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