Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Abiding Presence Of The Holy Ghost in the Soul, by Bede Jarrett, O.P. part 17. BEATITUDES


1. The possession of the sevenfold gifts results in the performance of certain virtuous acts, for it is perfectly obvious that if I am so blest by the gifts that I find my reason, will, emotions, made increasedly perceptive of divine currents previously lost to me, I can hardly help acting in a new way. I now discover the view about me, and the music, and, consequently, my manner of life must in some ways be different from before. The Vision has come; it cannot simply open my eyes to new things in life without thereby altering that very life itself. Not only shall I find that what seemed to me before to be evil now appears to me to be a blessing; but on that very account what before I tried to avoid, or, having got, tried to be rid of, I shall now accept, perhaps even seek. Similarly, whereas then I was weak, now I am strong; and increase of strength means new activities, new energy put into the old work and finding its way out into works altogether new. My emotions, finally, which perilled and dominated my life, slip now into a subordinate position, and while thereby as actively employed as before, are held under discipline. It is clear, therefore, that the gifts will not leave me where I was before, but will influence my actions as well as alter my vision.

2. I find, then, that these new habits will develop into new activities. But this means also that I have a new idea as to the means of achieving the full happiness of life. Once upon a time I thought happiness meant comfort, now I see that it means something quite different. My view of happiness has changed. I am therefore obliged to change also my idea as to the means and conditions whereby, and in which, happiness can be found. I had attempted to climb out of my valley over the hills in the west; I now attempt to climb out over the hills to the east. The steps by which once I clambered are useless to me. I must try new ones in the opposite hills. Just that is what Our Lord meant by promulgating His eight Beatitudes. These are just the new blessedness, so to say, which results from finding that happiness now means the knowledge and love of God. Things that previously I fled from, I now seek; things once my bugbear, are now the objects of my delight. Poverty, meekness, mourning, the hunger and thirst after justice, cleanness of heart, the making of peace, mercy, the suffering of persecution for justice’s sake, are now found to be the steps to be passed over, the conditions to be secured before happiness can be finally secured.

3. These things, then, are beatitudes to me. They are acts which I finally achieve by means of the new enlightenment gained through the gifts of God. Actively I am merciful and meek and clean of heart. I perform these actions, and they are the result of visions seen, and counsels heard, through the new sensitiveness to the divine instinctive guidance that of old passed me by without finding in my heart any response. To be forever pursuing now peace and sorrow, and, at whatever cost, justice, is an energizing state of life which is due entirely to the new perception of the value of these things, so that we are right in asserting that the beatitudes are nothing else than certain actions, praised by Our Lord and practiced by us as a result of the establishment in our souls of seven definite habits. But not only are they actions, they produce as an effect joy in the heart; for which reason it is that we call them beatitudes. They show me what is truly blessed and thereby give me, even here on earth, a foretaste of the bliss of final happiness.