Happy Are the Blessed – Part 3 of 4

Father Geiermann discusses how the practice of the virtues contained in the Beatitudes leads to happiness.

Christ said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt 5:7). Father Geiermann comments: “The first commandment is, indeed, to love God above all; but the second is like to it, to love our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. The love of a soul, intimately united to God, should therefore prompt her to love all mankind, to sympathize with all, to have compassion for all, and to do her utmost to bring all mankind to the same union with God. This love transcends the limits of justice by blending justice with mercy. . . . It deifies the Christian character by making it gentle, sensitive, and compassionate towards all creation. It is contagious and communicates itself to all who come in contact with it. It is rewarded by God and man with a special happiness.”

Christ said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). Father Geiermann points out potential difficulties in practicing this virtue: “In the performance of the works of mercy the Christian soul is in danger of being influenced by the pestilence of sin; for in this life she must meet sin in the concrete, that is, in the person of the sinner. If she is naturally sympathetic, the soul is easily contaminated. If she is self-contained and reserved, she is in danger of becoming bitter and cynical on the one hand, or daring and reckless on the other. This personal danger, arising from contact with persons, the Christian soul can remove only by cultivating a personal union with the God-Man Jesus Christ by a devout performance of her religious duties. If fervor and devotion have kept her mind united to God by a faith ever free from delusion, if they have kept her heart united to Him by unselfish love, and if they have kept her will united to God by perfect conformity to His holy will in her performance of the works of mercy, the Christian soul has attained another degree of perfection. And at this stage she is entitled to the happiness which the Saviour promised when He said: ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.'”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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