Father Geiermann continues his analysis of the Beatitudes, demonstrating how the practice of the virtues contained therein leads to one’s happiness.
Christ said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:4). Father Geiermann comments: “Suffering is indigenous to this valley of tears. The pessimist views its darkest shadows, the optimist its silvery lining. But the perfect Christian accepts the sufferings of life in a spirit of faith and says with his divine Master: ‘Father, not my will but Thine be done’ (Luke 22:42). Though he can not fathom the mystery of suffering, he has such implicit confidence in God that the remotest shadow of doubt concerning the wisdom, goodness, and love of this devoted Friend never enters his mind. With holy Job he could say: ‘Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him’ (Jb 13:15). On His part God is never outdone in generosity. And, as we often learn the love and devotion of an earthly friend only in adversity, so it is especially when we cling to Him by heroic faith in suffering that God reveals the tenderest sympathy of His infinite love for us.”
Christ said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5). Father Geiermann says that man’s selfish nature “hankers after worldly indulgence, pleasure, and honor, while his nobler nature craves for union with God.” He gains a mastery of his pride, and then “lives only in and for God. . . . When man is thus united to God he has learned from his Master to be meek and humble of heart.”
Christ said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill” (Matt 5:6). Father Geiermann writes: “When man experiences hunger and thirst in a normal condition of health, these indicate the labor and endurance which produced them. This rule applies no less to the spiritual than to the physical order. A relish for God and spiritual things in a Christian is therefore indicative of earnest striving after union with God. It also indicates that man’s taste has not been perverted by the allurements of the flesh and the world, nor paralyzed by a pessimistic view of life. Having attained the perfection of the first three beatitudes without loss of fervor, the soul may now exclaim in the words of the Psalmist: ‘As the heart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after Thee, O God’ (Ps 41:2). And as God is both faithful and true, the hunger and thirst of that soul for justice, or for the fulfilment of God’s holy will in all things, is rewarded by a higher degree of happiness which results from its finding in God all that it can desire.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).