When I was employed and was actually paid to write, I worked with a young woman who had the same hours as me – we came in early in the morning and left in the neighborhood of 4 o’clock. So she and I were about the only ones in the office for an hour or so each morning. I was usually the first to arrive, but each morning, just as soon as she arrived and had put her lunch in the fridge and turned on her computer, she came to my office, sat down, and commenced complaining.
Now, I have told you all before that I think I tend to be a glass-half-empty kind of person, especially as compared to Bill, who sees the glass half full even if the glass is totally empty. But, compared to this fellow employee, I wore rose colored glasses. She didn’t limit her complaints to work, though she did complain a fair amount about her job. But she complained about her husband, and whined about her mother, and grumbled about the weather or her health or what she had for dinner the night before.
It really got to the point that I considered not turning on my light for a bit just to put off listening to her gripe for a bit longer. But then I would remind myself that maybe my listening to her complaints got everything off her chest and she was as cheerful as can be the rest of the day. Somehow I don’t think so.
Blessed are they who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy….
Not that I want to tell God how to do his work (and I say that while cautiously looking up to dodge the lightning bolt) but it seems as though Jesus could have saved himself the three years of teaching by just climbing the mountain and preaching the Beatitudes the day after the Cana wedding. Because they pretty much say everything Jesus taught for his full three years in just a few sentences.
Really, think about it. The rich man and the eye of the needle. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. He who is without sin shall cast the first stone. All of these lessons taught by Jesus say the same thing: Always be humble and kind.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.
According to our homilist, the word from which the term blessed in the Beatitudes is translated means so much more than blessed in its original language. (Greek? Aramaic? Hebrew? See? I’m a biblical scholar.) He said that there is no single English word that translates the full meaning of the word. Blessed is partially correct, but overflowing with joy is closer to the correct translation.
So what is my takeaway from the Beatitudes? That what God wants for us is to be overflowing with joy, and moreover, to be sharing this same abundant joyfulness with others through love and humility and kindness and a gentle spirit. Because just like being around a grouchy person like the woman with whom I worked can make you crabby yourself, being with someone full of joy can make you joyful as well, because abundant joy is contagious.
After all, Jesus concluded the beatitudes with these words: Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
I’m determined to encourage joy through my own joy. It should be quite easy as the temperatures at our AZ home are finally creeping into the 70s this week.
This post linked to the GRAND Social