How can we become more like Christ? Where can we see what He is like? The Catechism says that “the Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity.”[27] These Gospel teachings show us our Lord’s portrait, his face revealing the Father’s compassionate love for all men and women. They take up the promises made to the Chosen People and perfect them, directing them no longer merely to the possession of a territory but to the Kingdom of Heaven.[28]

In St. Matthew’s Gospel the first four beatitudes refer to an attitude or a way of being: blessed are the poor in spirit,[29] those who mourn,[30] the meek,[31] those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.[32] They invite us to have complete confidence in God rather than in our own resources, to face suffering with a Christian spirit, and to be patient day after day. To these beatitudes are added others that put the emphasis on action: blessed are the merciful,[33] the pure in heart,[34] the peacemakers.[35] And the remaining ones make clear that in following Jesus we will have to suffer difficulties,[36] but that we should always react cheerfully. For“happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.”[37]

The Beatitudes certainly show us the mercy of God, who is determined to give unlimited joy to those who follow him: rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.[38] Nevertheless they are not a series of maxims painting a utopia, a better world that it will be someone else’s job to bring about, or a false consolation in the face of life’s difficulties. The Beatitudes are also demanding appeals that God makes to each person’s heart, urging us to commit ourselves to work for goodness and justice here and now on this earth.

Thinking frequently about the Beatitudes, maybe in our personal prayer, helps us to find ways to apply them in our daily life. For example, meekness is so often shown in “the cheerful smile for those who bother you; that silence when you are unjustly accused; your kind conversation with people you find boring and tactless; the daily effort to overlook one irritating detail or another in those who live with you…”[39]

If we try to live according to the spirit of the Beatitudes, we will little by little acquire attitudes and criteria that help us to fulfil the Commandments more easily. Cleanness of heart enables us to see the image of God in each person, viewing them as someone worthy of respect and not as an object to satisfy twisted desires. Being peaceable leads us to live as God’s children and to recognize others as his children, following the more excellent way[40] of charity that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,[41] transforming injuries into opportunities to love and to pray for those who do us harm.[42] In short, shaping our hearts in accord with the lines marked out by the Beatitudes makes a reality of the ideal Christ sets forth for us: to be merciful even as your Father is merciful.[43] We become bearers of God’s love, and learn to see others as the neighbor who needs our help. In Christ, we are the good Samaritan who acts mercifully to fulfil fully the law of charity. And then our heart grows larger, as did our Blessed Lady’s.




[27] Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1717

[28] Ibid. no. 1716

[29] Mt 5:3

[30] Mt 5:4

[31] Mt 5:5

[32] Mt 5:6

[33] Mt 5:7

[34] Mt 5:8

[35] Mt 5:9

[36] Mt 5:10-12

[37] Saint Josemaria, The Forge, no. 1055

[38] Mt 5:12

[39] Saint Josemaria, The Way, no. 173

[40] 1 Cor 12:31

[41] 1 Cor 13:7

[42] Cf. Mt 5: 44-45

[43] Lk 6:36



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