Blessed are the Gifts

A couple of days ago on Facebook, my friend Rachel referred to the “seven gifts of the Spirit”. These are the gifts mentioned in the Prophet Isaiah:

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel [right judgement] and might [fortitude],
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord [piety]…

– Isaiah 11:2-3

I commented briefly on Rachel’s Facebook posting, saying that St. Augustine associated these seven gifts with Christ’s beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10). In today’s post I wanted to explain in a little more detail what St. Augustine taught about the relationship between these gifts and the beatitudes…

Sermon on the Mount Copenhagen Church Alter Painting
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The Greatest Sermon Ever Given

I’ve mentioned before about my love for the Sermon on the Mount and how I don’t seem to tire of returning to that passage in Matthew’s Gospel to meditate and ponder the words of the Lord. Below is a clip of one of my favourite priests, Fr. Robert Barron, from the Catholicism Project where he speaks about that great sermon…

The Beatitudes (The Message)

The other day I was praying the Beatitudes and remembered that years ago I rather enjoyed the version found in “The Message”.

“The Message” is a paraphrase, rather than a translation of Sacred Scripture. Its purpose is to produce the Bible in more contemporary language. Some of the rendering attempts are honestly pretty awful. However, I have found this book to be of some use, especially when reading passages with which I’ve been extremely familiar.

Here’s its attempt at the Beatitudes:

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

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The Kingdom Rosary

I know I said I wasn’t going to blog any more this month, but I found some time this lunchtime to write down a few thoughts…

Last week at “Theology On Tap” Bernadine Carr gave a talk on the subject of The Beatitudes (“Blessed are the poor in spirit…”). In the run-up to her talk I was reminded of a devotional practice I followed years ago when I was living in Cheltenham…

I found myself drawn to praying with rosary beads, but at that time I didn’t feel comfortable with praying the Marian prayers of the rosary. So what I did was to replace the “Hail Mary”s and “Hail Holy Queen”s with short passages of Scripture and pray with those instead.

An example of this is found below. It is a guide to what could be dubbed the “Kingdom Rosary” or “The Rosary of St. Matthew”.

The Kingdom Rosary (MS Word) | The Kingdom Rosary (PDF)

At the beginning of this month, in preparation for Bernadine’s talk, I began this “Kingdom Rosary” and quickly fell in love with it all over again. It’s really helpful for memorizing Scripture and it’s also much shorter than a traditional Rosary, which is ideal if I’m walking just a couple of blocks to pick up a sandwich for lunch.

If any of you end up doing one of these or have any suggested alterations, please leave a comment below 🙂

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