By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Guaranteed happiness? Consult often, and live out the Beatitudes…

Today, Pope Francis made this observation to faithful gathered at the General Audience, which took place this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Francis started a new series of catechesis, following his last series on the Acts of the Apostles, on the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel.

Jesus, the Holy Father underscored, does not impose them but instead proposes them as the path to true happiness in the future that God promises to his faithful people.

“It will do us good,” the Jesuit Pontiff encouraged, “to take Matthew’s Gospel today, Chapter Five, verses one to eleven and read the Beatitudes — perhaps once more during the week — to understand this very beautiful way, so certain of bringing happiness, which the Lord proposes to us.”

God, the Argentinian Pope recognized, often chooses unthinkable ways to give Himself to us, perhaps those of our limitations, of our tears, of our defeats. “The Beatitudes,” he reminded, “always lead us to joy; they are the way to attain joy.”

Christ’s teaching of these “new commandments” from a hillside, Francis says, resembles how Moses gave the Commandments on Mount Sinai.

They are, Francis repeated as he has underscored in the past, an “identity card” for Christians. They also, the Pontiff noted, explain that we are blessed not by our present situation, but rather by the new condition that is ours by God’s grace.

“This first sermon of Jesus thus presents eight ‘doors’ through which we can encounter the power of God’s love to transform our lives and history. The Beatitudes point us beyond our limitations, tears and failures towards that Paschal joy born of Christ’s own victorious passage from death to life.”

The Holy Father gave a special greeting to English-speaking pilgrims, reminding “upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus,” he said.

GENERAL AUDIENCE: On the Beatitudes (Full Text)

Below is the Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s summary.

***

Speaker:

Today we begin a new series of catechesis on the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus’ teaching provides a kind of “identity card” for Christians. Like Moses on Sinai, Jesus gives these “new commandments” from a hillside. He does not impose them but instead proposes them as the path to true happiness in the future that God promises to his faithful people. Each Beatitude is composed of three parts: the opening word “Blessed”, followed by the situation in which those who are called blessed find themselves – poor in spirit, mourning, thirsting for justice – and finally the reason for which they are blessed. The Beatitudes teach that we are blessed not by our present situation, but rather by the new condition that is ours by God’s grace. This first sermon of Jesus thus presents eight “doors” through which we can encounter the power of God’s love to transform our lives and history. The Beatitudes point us beyond our limitations, tears and failures towards that Paschal joy born of Christ’s own victorious passage from death to life.

Speaker:

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!

[Vatican-provided English text]

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