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Jesus doesn’t impose commandments, but marks out path to happiness, says Pope Francis


If you want to find joy, says pope, the path is clear, and it’s the Beatitudes

Pope Francis on January 29 began a new series of general audience catecheses, taking up the Beatitudes as recounted in Matthew’s Gospel.

It would be good for us today to take up the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter five, Verses one to 11, to read the Beatitudes — maybe again a few more times during this week — to understand this path of happiness that is so beautiful, and so sure, which the Lord proposes for us. … [It] would be good to memorize them, so as to repeat them, to have in our minds and in our hearts this law that Jesus gave us.

The Holy Father gave a general introduction to the Beatitudes, saying that it’s “difficult not to be touched by these words,” which he said have “illuminated the lives” not only of countless Christians, but also of non-believers. He called the Beatitudes a Christian’s ID card, because they “trace the face of Jesus, of his way of life.”

The Beatitudes are for everyone, the pope said, and noted that in giving them on the “mount,” Our Lord hearkens back to Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

Jesus begins to teach a new law: to be poor, to be meek, to be merciful … these “new commandments” are much more than norms. In fact, Jesus doesn’t impose anything, but reveals a path to happiness — his path — repeating the word “blessed” eight times.

Francis pointed out that the reason for the state of “blessedness” of each group mentioned in the Beatitudes is not their current situation, “but rather the new condition that the blessed receive as a gift of God: ‘theirs is the Kingdom of God’; ‘they will be consoled’; ‘they will inherit the earth’; and so on.”

To give himself to us, God often chooses unexpected paths: perhaps those of our limits, of our tears, of our failures. It is the paschal joy, of which our eastern brothers and sisters speak — that which has wounds but is alive, has passed through death and has experienced the power of God. The Beatitudes take you to joy, always; they are the path to reach joy.

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