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Peace..Harmony..

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Blessed are the peacemakers

for they shall be called children of God

 

 Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me~~  One of my favorite prayers is the prayer of St. Francis.   In it there is a reaction to the injustices that I am sure all of us have had to deal with.  Being a “peacemaker” can be very hard.  I have learned in my life that if I have an opinion or a mindset there will also be either an equal viewpoint but mostly an opposing opinion.

I never really liked to be in debate about how I believe.  In my heart, I have always been one to allow others their opinion and to make their point in honest and productive debates.   I thought I was a peacemaker, but in fact I was just someone who did not want to argue and I was the one with the question….. “why can’t we all just get along”   I am still of that mindset.

As I look at this beatitude, where it says “they will be children of God”.   I have found in my life, that children do pick up many of their parents traits, good & Bad.   In my faith my God has nothing but good to give His children.  Thus, as a child of God we are emulating His Godly nature to do good and be good, being a representation of God.

Being a peacemaker is learning, as my photo before my post says, “In your garden of thought  cultivate harmony”   I would have just that picture to conclude my post.    It really is very simple to cultivate harmony.  Harmony is peace with cooperation.   Harmony is blending together the whole of the music.  Sometimes the harmony is a bit off, but with practice and cooperation the orchestra can blend many different instruments and vocal qualities to be “in harmony” and in turn a beautiful harmonic blend of all the differences.   Celebrating all the different ideas in a cohesive tapestry of love and respect for each and every voice that is to be heard.

Being a peacemaker and one that cultivates harmony can be a challenge. When people hate it is very hard to cultivate love and not counteract with more hate.  When someone injures your spirit it is hard to forgive them the hurt and not hurt them back. It is hard to become stronger in your faith when all the signs around you make you doubt. When someone who experiences despair it is very hard to cultivate hope.  Experience  darkness counteract with light~~ Sadness with joy. It takes practice and diligence.

It is something we have to work at.  When we are being a peacemaker, we also have the additional benefit of  peace in our hearts.  When we cultivate that harmony ~~  our harvest will be full of peace and those around us will see that we are children of God, the ultimate peacemaker.

 

katharos

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Blessed are the pure of heart

for they shall see God

 

The Greek word for “pure” is “katharos”. Fundamentally, it signifies that which is clean, or free from contaminating substance.  Pure Gold.  Pure water. Pure bliss. Pure love.  

The word evokes many  “word pictures” for me.   A newborn baby is pure.  The first snowfall is pure. The unadulterated embrace of mother and a child with the underlying unconditional pure love given  without expectation.

This beatitude gives me the chance to shed my grown up skin that I am in and look deep into my heart to find the “pure” heart as a small child, before the world infiltrated my heart with contaminants .  To look to the world around me as a child would.  Pure…. unstained.. not contaminated but free of any ingredients mixed in. Untainted.

One thing was brought to my mind~~~ the Ivory soap claim that it is “99.44/100% pure”.  Nothing added… pure and free from any additional “stuff”.  When my heart is pure, I am able to be free enough to receive all that God has to offer me.

One of my favorite Scripture passages is  ~~God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Psam51:10.

This to me is the “pure”  (pun intended) essence of being pure of heart.  Our hearts and minds are  inundated with so many worldly things, attitudes of intolerance, destruction of simple morals and we strain to remain true to our heart and our beliefs. We become cynical  and we let down our guard and let the the bulls**t of this world enter into our hearts, mind and spirits.

Let’s face it every human being has heart problems. We all struggle to keep within us a pure heart.   As we grow into our lives we pick up small little things that nick and tear tiny lesions on our hearts. Sometimes the tragedies of our world gouge deep wounds in our hearts.  They cause scarring and make our hearts hard. Almost like a keloid scar over scars and striated.

When we are pure of heart, we are able with Gods help to heal those scars and re-build the once hardened heart.

Another Scripture that I love is Proverbs 4:23~~ Guard your heart with much diligence, because the source of your life flows from it.

Being pure of heart takes diligence … most all of these beatitudes come down to being truly humbled in our “humanness” and learning to discern with that still small voice inside of us what can hurt us and what can help us.   To recognize the things that chip away  and scratch our hearts in even the tiniest way, so that we do not allow those things to even touch the surface of our hearts.

One of my favorite songs is by Shaun Groves ~  The title of the song is “Welcome Home”  He equates his heart to a house. I love the whole song  but the beginning verses…. are

Welcome to this heart of mine
I’ve buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
Inside of me
Come decorate, Lord
Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls

Being pure of heart means being humble (oh man there is that word again) humble enough to let God do a bit of redecorating and allowing God to give your heart a fresh “pure” coat of paint.  When that remodel is done,  you have a purer heart that is not confused by all the clutter and then you are able to see God more clearly.    As we open the eyes of our hearts the more clearly we see all that God has in store for us.   When our hearts are pure….. expecting to see nothing is when we truly see God in His purest form… through love, tolerance, gentleness, patience and true unconditional love.  A love that is willing to come into our hearts with the tools needed to clean up our hearts.   As the chorus from “Welcome Home”  says:

Come inside this heart of mine
It’s not my own
Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it
All Your own
Welcome home

 Next one is…peacemakers….  blessed they are..  

eek!! Meek??? seriously?

 

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“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”

 

Many associate the word meek with the word weak. To some the word meek brings to mind a person who is unable to stand firm on a position, is easy to persuade, is generally a weak minded and weak willed individual. Some one  who when in conflict or is asked to stand up for something or to someone,  will cower and retreat in a corner.

As someone who loves words and looks into the derivative of a word,  I have found that in these days the word “meek” has lost most of its meaning within the vernacular of our current language.  The word carries none of the meanings associated with weak. The meek, (hoi praeis) has been translated mild or gentle. The word was originally applied to the outer characteristics of things and people. It was not considered a virtue or an attitude but as the inner attitude of a person. Today’s meaning of meek has been watered down to the point it has lost most, if not all of its true meaning. The Greek historian Xenophon used the word “meek” to describe a horse broken to saddle, so that it is under control. When a horse is “broken to saddle”  it is in harmony with the human who will be in harmony with the horse as they ride together.   In becoming “meek”  the horse can be in harmony or at peace with its owner or rider.   When left “unbroken” the horse is unable to be in harmony.

Like I mentioned before,  I used to think the word “meek” meant kind of spineless and inept to stand up for ones own beliefs.  When in all actuality, the word meek means one who has an attitude toward others that is humble, gentle and kind. A person who is teachable is considered meek. A meek person does not have to be right all of the time and a meek person will live a life of strength under control. Quiet but strong resolve on doing what is just and good not according to themselves but according to God.

The “meek” have accepted God’s estimate of their own life. They  know they are to be humble as God asked them to be, but paradoxically, they know  at the same time that they are in the eyes of God of more importance than angels.  IN that humility or “meekness” they know that apart from God they cannot in all actuality achieve nothing of true importance but with God as they humble themselves to God, that nothing is impossible.  That is their motto and inherited hope for their lives.

So we become “meek” in our lives we stand resolute and strong in our beliefs and we sigh in our hearts and let those who oppose us to state their beliefs and offer up a quiet and gentle rebuttal to express what our faith is to them.  We do not engage in an angry and wrathful insistence on what they should believe but acknowledgement of what they have shared and  we are able walk away not only confident in what we believe, but also with a quiet and gentle prayer for them.

So what is “the earth” to inherit? To me it has always  represented the promise of God.  The very promise of love,joy and peace which surpasses our own human understanding. The ability to be in peace while the storms of life on this earth swirl with arrogance and turmoil ~~ it is the place of God’s promise.

To sum this all up,  Obedience and “submission”  or “meekness” to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days but this meekness will bring  to fruition the true sense of peace in our spirit as we live not only  in this world but  it will truly serve us well in the next .  

“Be-atitudes” next…..

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 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Now this one I understand~~  I have had much mourning in my life.  I have known many losses and being comforted during my mourning, but most important I have been able to comfort those who mourn, because I have mourned.

This beatitude is not always about the mourning that comes with death, but also the mourning of  dying to yourself.   We are all born with faults, deficiencies, and  defects.  I know that sounds harsh but we are also born with ability to love and care for one another.   As I said in the prior post, we also need to be humble about the excellent traits we have and to know that all this comes from God.

Another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, it is then when we can  realize the poverty of human nature, we can only be left in sorrow  (or mourning). God comforts us and tells us that love can cast out all that is evil.

    All that deals with the mourning of oneself as we try to navigate this current world we live in.

    I have also learned that in my mourning I have been comforted whether it be by the still small voice of God in my spirit telling me how much love can overcome the sadness and emptiness we feel when we mourn the losses in our lives.  The loss of a relationship, the loss of our self esteem, the loss of hope, the loss of faith, the loss of love, the loss of security, the loss of courage, well you get the picture.  We mourn those losses but  if we reach out we  will be comforted.

      Of course the most obvious loss is death of someone we love.   I have had many losses in that area, my parents, 2 brothers (one at 16 and the other at 36~~ tragic and too young for both)  But the most prolific loss I have had is that of my son, Brian.   He died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when he was 2 months old.  Nothing can  repair the part of my heart that died along with my son.  I have been forever be changed.  I also have been able to reach out to those parents who have lost babies to SIDS and take the loss of my son to others who have mourned and I can comfort them.  Because through my  losses I have a better understanding of HOW to comfort those who mourn and in turn I am comforted.

    All the losses in my life through death have caused me to realize that I am not alone in knowing the gut wrenching mourning that can ensue.   I never compare the mourning of others but I am always able to relate to those who mourn.

    This is what this beatitude means to me.  When loss enters my realm of being, when I have the feeling that no one can comfort me, that is when God will place just the right person or revelation to me to know that  I am blessed to be “mourning” the losses because I will be comforted and I will be able to comfort others.

    Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5