I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault.
To provide some quick background, Bourgeault presents Jesus as a wisdom teacher: teacher of the path of inner transformation.
this post may contain affiliate links
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Mercy is not something God has; it’s something God is. We participate in this exchange. Brian Zahnd mentions that, “Mercy should be our default mode. In Jesus they found mercy.” Mercy means when a stranger comes to us and needs a meal, we provide one. Mercy means when we see a stranger freezing in the cold, we provide a coat or blanket. Mercy means when a distraught widow enters our church, we lend a listening ear.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When we learn to see through the eyes of God, we are pure in heart. We can learn to develop this ability with the use of a contemplative practice: silent prayer, chanting, painting, walking meditation, photography. We cleanse our lens of perception and see without splitting the field into subject/object, right/wrong/, inside/outside and so on. Everything belongs as Richard Rohr says and it is wonderful and beautiful just the way it is.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” When we are pure in heart, we no longer feel the need to divide the world into winner/loser, right/wrong, insider/outsider. Our interior peace naturally flows into our outer world. We seem to bring a peaceful, compassionate and empathetic presence into the world. I am sure you have met people who seem to have this wonderful disposition.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is talking about an interior freedom here. Cynthia mentions that the Gospel of Thomas captures the essence of this Beatitude. “Blessed are you in the midst of persecution who, When they hate and pursue you even to the core of your being, Cannot find “you” anywhere.” I am sure many people come to mind as you think about this: Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. These are well-known, past public figures. I am certain there are lesser well known ones who walk amidst us on a daily basis who we can learn much from.
I hope you enjoyed this two part series on the Beatitudes. I invite you to read last week’s meditation if you did not get a chance to do so.
The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault.
The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming An Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart by Cynthia Bourgeault.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. It is based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message .
The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice by Cynthia Bourgeault
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God (Cloister Books) by Cynthia Bourgeault