I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault.
I wish to share with you her take on the Beatitudes. I will discuss four Beatitudes this week, four next week, and sprinkle in my commentary.
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To provide some quick background, Bourgeault presents Jesus as a wisdom teacher: teacher of the path of inner transformation.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What is poor in spirit? Poor in spirit designates an inner attitude of receptivity and openness. It is when we open ourselves that we find we are truly blessed. I specifically notice this as a fruit of my centering prayer practice. During my silent sits, I open to the presence and inner actions of God. God seems to bless me and I notice these fruits during my non-silent times: patience, wisdom needed for a task, inner peace, confidence, actions I need to take today.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Mourning is a brutal form of emptiness. However, in this emptiness, if we remain open, the Divine reaches back to us with compassion. I agree! My first centering prayer sit after my father passed away was difficult! I opened to the presence and action of God with my sacred word, then sobbed and gently returned to my sacred word, over and over and over again, until I was finally embraced by Divine peace and compassion.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” When we have dealt directly with our sense of fear and scarcity that are a direct result of our egoic operating system, then we will inherit the earth. There is enough for everyone. We do not need to compete, divide and split the field. We do not need to be jealous of others’ success, instead, we can choose to help each other to succeed and celebrate their success. Compete does not need to be the mantra!
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Righteousness means to be anchored in God’s aliveness: to be deeply connected to God. I yearn for this connection. Twice per day I sit with God in silent prayer and connect to the Divine. I arise from my daily sits reconnected to the Divine, ready to partner with God and take on the day. I hunger and yearn for God’s righteousness both during my silent sits and non silent times of the day. During the day, I like to silently whisper the word Jesus to reconnect to God at any moment.
I hope you will join me next week as I share the last four Beatitudes!
Books and courses by Cynthia Bourgeault:
(Listen to The Heart of Centering Prayer for Free when you try Audible with a 30-day free trial.)
The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault: Jesus first and foremost is a Wisdom teacher, grounded in the universal traditions of spiritual transformation, and the first teacher of non-dual consciousness the West had ever seen. Almost two thousand years ahead of his time, he stands in the lineage of the great Jewish prophets, the master “cardiologist” entrusted with implementing the promise made to the prophet Ezekiel: “I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Centering Prayer by Cynthia Bourgeault: Centering Prayer is a simple, no-frills form of meditation in the Christian tradition. Since it was first developed by Christian contemplative monks in the 1970s, it has allowed tens of thousands of practitioners worldwide to “return home,” developing an authentically Christian meditation practice which not only delivers the healing and quieting of the mind typical of all meditation paths, but also reconnects directly to Christianity’s hidden treasury of mystical and transformational wisdom.
The Gospel of Thomas by Cynthia Bourgeault: This e-course, “The Gospel of Thomas with Cynthia Bourgeault,” is a complete “Thomas starter kit”: everything you need to know to get you up and running with this remarkable text, plus a generous sampling of its most important sayings, arranged thematically so that they speak to issues that contemporary spiritual seekers are actually dealing with.
A Simple Immediacy: Desert Wisdom for Advent by Cynthia Bourgeault: The Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries are arguably the first Wisdom School in Christian history. At first in trickles and then in waves, they fled into the deserts of Egypt and Syria to escape the increasing imperialization of the Christian Church and to live in a simple immediacy with the Risen Christ. In the process, they generated an extraordinary body of practical teachings on the spiritual practices underlying this life of deeper awareness and mystical union.
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