Living the Life of Beatitude
There is a story told about a young Boy Scout. On this day, his Boy Scout troop was participating in first-aid training – learning how to administer first-aid in emergency situations. This young scout was asked to lie on the ground with red bandages all over him as if he was wounded and told to wait for help to arrive. He waited, and waited, and waited but no help came. When the rest of the scouts came, they found a note on the ground that said, “I have bled to death and gone home”.
Chapters 5 to 7 in Matthew’s Gospel are known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus started this discourse by putting forward the idea of what it means to be His disciple. He lays before His listeners the eight Beatitudes and then explains how to live by them. These Beatitudes are the nucleus or essence of Jesus’ teaching.
How to live the life of Beatitude?
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” – so be the salt. Then He said, “You are the light of the world” – again it simply means be the light. When a Christian becomes the salt and the light of the world, he will be like a city built on a hill. It cannot be hidden. A Christian living the life of Beatitude, will transform the world for good. True Christians are the catalysts in creating a kingdom of God here in this world.
In the ancient world, salt was a precious commodity. Salt and precious metals were sold to the caravans as equal essentials. Romans, too, valued salt as something very precious. The word salary in English is derived from the Roman custom of paying soldiers’ wages in salt. (The Latin word for salt is sal.) Salt was used mainly to preserve meat and other foods for winter use. As we know, salt brings taste to our food. Life lived according to the Beatitude, helps Christians keep this world joyful and free from the corruption of all evil.
We need to remember that, although Jesus said that we are the light of the world, the true light is Jesus Himself. We can reflect only that light, which we receive from Jesus. The work of light is not to draw attention to itself, but, rather, to make all objects visible by shining itself on them. In humility we need to take every opportunity to bring Christ to all people in the world.
–Fr. Ranjan D’Sa, OCD