The Fourth Beatitude


This past week you were invited to hold inside yourself and meditate on the fourth Beatitude “Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” and the week before that, the third “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." We will look at both of these teachings in this email since last week focused on Father’s Day.

Let’s start with this idea of meekness. It is not a word that is typically used in modern vernacular and when it is, it generally has a negative connotation. When we look at another translation for this word from the Aramaic its meaning is ‘gentle’ or ‘gentled’. With this translation we get closer to what Jesus was getting at. If someone has been gentled they have become tender and softened, ready to yield and accept instruction.

As we grow and develop through life, we adopt more and more rigid ways of operating in the world. We like our comfort and our ways of securing happiness and our defensive postures that seemingly provide protection. I see this Beatitude pointing us to a choice we have in life, to either stay the course of the ego, continuing to harden these structures and closing ourselves off from the influence of our higher selves and to God or to soften that which has hardened, allowing these structures to be gentled, opening up to Divine influence and instruction.

Of course this requires surrender to and trusting in God who, as James Finley so often says, “protects us from nothing but somehow unexplainably sustains us in all things.” We will be sustained, perhaps not always in the way we had hoped or expected but if we are open we will see we will be met regardless of the circumstances we encounter on this earth and in that way we inherit this horizontal plane because we know how to move lightly here.

Let’s now look at this notion of righteousness. Neil Douglas-Klotz in Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflecting on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words, says “In Aramaic, [righteousness] refers to both an inner and an outer sense of justice, a base upon which things can rest, the perfection of natural stability. This includes a sense of physical, inner rightness among the different voices we sometimes feel within, as well as the reflection of these voices in society.” This sense of inner rightness within might mean not allowing certain voices that have been internalized to have as much space within us. Voices that speak death and violence rather than life and love. It might also mean opposing these unhelpful voices in society or strengthening the voices that bring forth a natural stability.

Cynthia offers a different perspective speaking about righteousness not as being moral or behaving correctly but something understood in Jesus’s times as much more dynamic. She says in The Wisdom Jesus, “You can actually visualize it as a force field: an energy-charged sphere of holy presence. To be 'in the righteousness of God' (as Old Testament writers are fond of saying) means to be directly connected to this vibrational field, to be anchored within God’s own aliveness.” This teaching speaks to yearning for this profound connectedness and how yearning itself is so important in our transformative process. She goes on to say, “Jesus promises that when the hunger arises within you to find your own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, it will be satisfied—in fact, the hunger itself is a sign that the bond is already in place.” When we are bonded in our own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, there is a perfection of natural stability amidst the instability and an inner rightness from which we can live and move and have our being.

This week, we continue with our exploration of the Beatitudes. Hold inside yourself and meditate on the fifth Beatitude as well as a few alternative translations from Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflecting on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are those who, from their inner wombs, birth mercy; they shall feel its warm arms embrace them.

Healed are those who extend a long heartfelt breath wherever needed; they shall feel the heat of cosmic ardor.

Tuned to the Source are those who shine from the deepest place in their bodies. Upon them shall be the rays of universal Love.

Spend some time in lectio divina with the one that you are most drawn to.

First, take a moment to sense your body and drop into heart. Speak the words out loud. Listen with the ear of your heart and allow yourself to be drawn to a word or phrase that touches you.

Second, speak the words aloud again. Mull what struck you around with all three centers. Reflect on the text, allowing the questions, insights, and memories to flow from your own life experience. Ask yourself what relevance or application this has to yourself, how does this touch my life at this time?

Third, speak the words aloud again. Notice your interior response to what is arising and whether there is a prayer or gesture or image that can be offered on behalf of you, others, the world, or God.

Fourth, speak the words aloud again. Rest in the stillness within, allowing all that has emerged to settle further in you in silence.

May we continue to engage the act of fathering

May we embolden others to be themselves

May we offer provision for others

May we instill agency, strength and courage

May we co-create and build afresh

May we be a way to love

With love,

Heather


 


Here are some of the readings from this week:

“There is no argument needed for the necessity of taking time out for being alone, for withdrawal, for being quiet without and still within. The sheer physical necessity is urgent because the body and the entire nervous system cry out for the healing waters of silence. One could not begin the cultivation of the prayer life at a more practical point than deliberately to seek each day, and several times a day, a lull in the rhythm of daily doing, a period when nothing happens that demands active participation.”

— Howard Thurman

“You may have heard it said that love is a bridge that connects all things. But such a perspective still leaves the world split between two matters: things and bridges. Bodies and connections. If love were in fact a bridge, it is a bridge that cuts deep and pushes so far into the flesh of the thing it seeks to connect to another thing that it becomes indistinguishable from the body. I think love is a gaping wound in the project of final closure, the postponement of completion, the magic that refuses absolute independence to any one thing and makes bodies like fluid spirits and material becomings. With a bridge, I can turn away from crossing. But love exceeds static notions of agency, enlisting us in its queer mattering and desirous inquiries in ways we cannot fathom or language. I think love is not a bridge at all: I think love is a hyphen, an umbilical cord, the undoing of the master's sword, the aching at the heart of creation, the vaginal opening that mocks arrivals and departures, the promise that we will never be fully done or done with. Love is not the bridge that connects all things, love is the crossing whence all things come.”

— Bayo Akomolafe

‘ENOUGH’

If I could learn to let go of what I

Have and was and will be, of all

The good gifts You have given,

Then I could trust myself to

Know who I truly am, which

Is the only one You desire

For You are ever love, and I

Am ever loved, and it is enough

To know and be Your beloved.

— Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart by Jon Sweeney and Mark Burrows

‘The Light Prayer’

O God! Grant me Light in my heart,

Light in my grave ,

Light in front of me, Light behind me,

Light to my right, Light to my left,

Light above me, Light below me,

Light in my ears, Light in my eyes

Light on my skin, Light in my hair,

Light within my flesh, Light in my blood, Light in my bones.

O God! Increase my Light everywhere.

O God! Grant me Light in my heart,

Light on my tongue, Light in my eyes,

Light in my ears,

Light to my right, Light to my left,

Light above me, Light below me,

Light in front of me, Light behind me,

and Light within my self; increase my Light

— the Prophet Muhammed

“How good it is to center down!

To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!

The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic;

Our spirits resound with flashings, with noisy silences,

While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment and the resting lull.

With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense of order in our living;

A direction, a strong sure purpose that will structure our confusion and bring meaning in our chaos.”

— Howard Thurman

“Every human life, when seen from the perspective of the unrelenting Divine Mercy, is the story of grace unfolding. Love is revealing itself in the precise details of each human life, if only we do not impose the script of self-pity, bitterness, and fearfulness. The soul is where the divine attributes of God may be awakened from their latent state to be integrated into our character. These qualities are the soul's natural inheritance from the Divine. It is through communion with the Divine that the soul takes on the spiritual attributes of kindness, generosity, courage, forgiveness, patience, and freedom.”

― Kabir Helminski

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