Discover more from The Call to Holiness
St. Leo the Great - The Beatitudes
The Joy of Holy Sorrow
The Joy of Holy Sorrow
Contemplating Our Sins Leads Us to Blessedness
The mourning that Christ calls blessed is not worldly grief, but sorrow for sin - one's own and others'. It does not lament divine justice, but human wickedness that leads people into punishment. The evil-doer is to be pitied, not the one who suffers evil. Holy sorrow looks to God's mercy, not earthly loss.
The meek inherit the earth
Christ promises the earth as inheritance to the meek - those who endure injury patiently. This is no mere patch of ground, but a dwelling in heaven. The meek enter God's kingdom through humility that lifts them into immortal glory with the Spirit. Our perishable nature becomes imperishable as we put on immortality. Danger to the soul becomes reward as the burdensome becomes honorable.
From a sermon on the Beatitudes by Saint Leo the Great
The blessedness of Christ's kingdom
After pronouncing his blessing on poverty, the Lord added Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Dearly beloved, this mourning that is promised eternal comfort has nothing in common with the afflictions of this world. No-one is made blessed by the kind of lamentation that the whole human race indulges in. The sighs and blessed tears of the saints have another cause. Holy sorrow comes from contemplating one’s own sins and the sins of others. It does not weep at the actions of divine justice but at the sins committed by human wickedness. It is the one who does evil who is to be pitied here, not the one who suffers it: for what the evil man has done thrusts him down to punishment, while what the just man has put up with leads him up into glory.
Then the Lord added Blessed are the meek, for they shall have the earth for their inheritance. To the meek and gentle, to the lowly and unassuming, to all who are prepared to endure injury – to these the earth is promised. This is not a small or unimportant inheritance, as if “the earth” were somehow distinct from a dwelling-place in heaven: in fact, you must understand it as meaning that only the meek will enter the kingdom of heaven. This earth that is promised to the meek, that is to be given to the gentle to possess, is the body of the saints, whose humility will raise them up and clothe them in the glory of immortality, united at last with the Spirit of unity. Then the outer self will belong to the inner self at last, a peaceful and secure possession.
The meek will possess this inheritance in everlasting peace and their right to it will never grow less. Our present perishable nature must put on imperishability and this mortal nature must put on immortality, so that a danger to the soul becomes a reward and what was onerous becomes an honor.
Let us Pray.
Lord Jesus, your words to the downtrodden are life to my soul.
When sorrow weighs on my heart, let me mourn not for earthly loss but for my sins and the sins of the world. Grant me tears of holy grief that lead to repentance and your mercy.
Make me meek, Lord, quiet and gentle even in the face of injury. Give me humility to follow you, that I may enter your kingdom through smallness of heart. Lift me into the glory you promise the lowly, where my perishable flesh becomes imperishable, clothed in your immortality.
I long to inherit that unshakable peace promised to the meek - oneness with you, my Beloved. Danger to my soul becomes reward, and struggle becomes honor. You are my inheritance, Lord - in you I am home.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.