Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice:
for they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called
the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice'
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Robert Appleton Company
The Eight Beatitudes
The solemn blessings (beatitudines, benedictiones) which mark the opening of the
Sermon on the Mount, the very first of Our Lord's sermons in the Gospel of St.
Matthew (v, 3-10). Four of them occur again in a slightly different form in the
Gospel of St. Luke (vi, 22), likewise at the beginning of a sermon, and running
parallel to Matthew, 5-7, if not another version of the same. And here they are
illustrated by the opposition of the four curses (24-26). The fuller account and
the more prominent place given the Beatitudes in St. Matthew are quite in
accordance with the scope and the tendency of the First Gospel, in which the
spiritual character of the Messianic kingdom -- the paramount idea of the
Beatitudes -- is consistently put forward, in sharp contrast with Jewish
prejudices. The very peculiar form in which Our Lord proposed His blessings make
them, perhaps, the only example of His sayings that may be styled poetical --
the parallelism of thought and expression, which is the most striking feature of
Biblical poetry, being unmistakably clear.
The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. (Verse 4)
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their
fill. (Verse 6)
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)
As regards textual criticism, the passage offers no serious difficulty. Only in
verse 9, the Vulgate and many other ancient authorities omit the pronoun autoi,
ipsi; probably a merely accidental omission. There is room, too, for serious
critical doubt, whether verse 5 should not be placed before verse 4. Only the
etymological connection, which in the original is supposed to have existed
between the "poor" and the "meek", makes us prefer the order
of the Vulgate.
The word poor seems to represent an Aramaic `ányâ (Hebr. `anî), bent down,
afflicted, miserable, poor; while meek is rather a synonym from the same root, `ánwan
(Hebr. `ánaw), bending oneself down, humble, meek, gentle. Some scholars would
attach to the former word also the sense of humility; others think of
"beggars before God" humbly acknowledging their need of Divine help.
But the opposition of "rich" (Luke, vi, 24) points especially to the
common and obvious meaning, which, however, ought not to be confined to
economical need and distress, but may comprehend the whole of the painful
condition of the poor: their low estate, their social dependence, their defenseless
exposure to injustice from the rich and the mighty. Besides the Lord's blessing,
the promise of the heavenly kingdom is not bestowed on the actual external
condition of such poverty. The blessed ones are the poor "in spirit",
who by their free will are ready to bear for God's sake this painful and humble
condition, even though at present they be actually rich and happy; while on the
other hand, the really poor man may fall short of this poverty "in
Inasmuch as poverty is a state of humble subjection, the "poor in
spirit", come near to the "meek", the subject of the second
blessing. The Agawam, they who humbly and meekly bend themselves down before God
and man, shall "inherit the land" and posses their inheritance in
peace. This is a phrase taken from Ps. xxxvi (Hebr., xxxvii), 11, where it
refers to the Promised Land of Israel, but here in the words of Christ, it is of
course but a symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven, the spiritual realm of the
Messiah. Not a few interpreters, however, understand "the earth". But
they overlook the original meaning of Ps. xxxvi, 11, and unless, by a
far-fetched expedient, they take the earth also to be a symbol of the Messianic
kingdom, it will be hard to explain the possession of the earth in a
The "mourning" in the Third Beatitude is in Luke (vi, 25) opposed to
laughter and similar frivolous worldly joy. Motives of mourning are not to be
drawn from the miseries of a life of poverty, abjection, and subjection, which
are the very blessings of verse 3, but rather from those miseries from which the
pious man is suffering in himself and in others, and most of all the tremendous
might of evil throughout the world. To such mourners the Lord Jesus carries the
comfort of the heavenly kingdom, "the consolation of Israel" (Luke,
ii, 25) foretold by the prophets, and especially by the Book of Consolation of
Isaias (xi-lxvi). Even the later Jews knew the Messiah by the name of Menahhem,
Consoler. These three blessings, poverty, abjection, and subjection are a
commendation of what nowadays are called the passive virtues: abstinence and endurance,
and the Eighth Beatitude (verse 10) leads us back again to the teaching.
The others, however, demand a more active behavior. First of all, "hunger
and thirst" after justice: a strong and continuous desire of progress in
religious and moral perfection, the reward of which will be the very fulfillment
of the desire, the continuous growth in holiness.
From this interior desire a further step should be taken to acting to the works
of "mercy", corporal and spiritual. Through these the merciful will
obtain the Divine mercy of the Messianic kingdom, in this life and in the final
judgment. The wonderful fertility of the Church in works and institutions of
corporal and spiritual mercy of every kind shows the prophetical sense, not to
say the creative poer, of this simple word of the Divine Teacher.
According to biblical terminology, "cleanness of heart" (verse 8)
cannot exclusively be found in interior chastity, nor even, as many scholars
propose, in a general purity of conscience, as opposed to the Levitical, or
legal, purity required by the Scribes and Pharisees. At least the proper place
of such a blessing does not seem to be between mercy (verse 7) and peacemaking
(verse 9), nor after the apparently more far-reaching virtue of hunger and
thirst after justice. But frequently in the Old and New Testaments (Gen., xx, 5;
Job, xxxiii, 3; Pss., xxiii (Hebr., xxiv), 4; lxxii (Hebr., lxxiii), 1; I
Tim,i.5; II Tim, ii, 22) the "pure heart" is the simple and sincere
good intention, the "single eye" of Matt., vi, 22, and thus opposed to
the un-avowed by-ends of the Pharisees (Matt., vi, 1-6, 16-18; vii, 15; xxiii,
5-7, 14) This "single eye" or "pure heart" is most of all
required in the works of mercy (verse 7) and zeal (verse 9) in behalf of one's
neighbor. And it stands to reason that the blessing, promised to this continuous
looking for God's glory, should consist of the supernatural "seeing"
of God Himself, the last aim and end of the heavenly kingdom in its completion.
The "peacemakers" (verse 9) are those who not only live in peace with
others but moreover do their best to preserve peace and friendship among mankind
and between God and man, and to restore it when it has been disturbed. It is on
account of this godly work, "an imitating of God's love of man" as St.
Gregory of Nyssa styles it, that they shall be called the sons of god,
"children of your Father who is in heaven" (Matt., v, 45).
When after all this the pious disciples of Christ are repaid with ingratitude
and even "persecution" (verse 10) it will be but a new blessing,
"for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
So, by an inclusion, not uncommon in biblical poetry, the last blessing goes
back to the first and the second. The pious, whose sentiments and desires whose
works and sufferings are held up before us, shall be blessed and happy by their
share in the Messianic kingdom, here and hereafter. And viewed in the
intermediate verses seem to express, in partial images of the one endless
beatitude, the same possession of the Messianic salvation. The eight conditions
required constitute the fundamental law of the kingdom, the very pith and marrow
of Christian perfection. For its depth and breadth of thought, and its practical
bearing on Christian life, the passage may be put on a level with the Decalogue
in the Old, and the Lord's Prayer in the New Testament, and it surpassed both in
its poetical beauty of structure.
Besides the commentaries on St. Matthew and St. Luke, and the monographs on the
Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes are treated in eight homilies of ST. GREGORY
OF NYSSA, P.G., XLIV, 1193-1302, and in one other of ST. CHROMATIUS, P.L., XX,
323-328. Different patristic sermons on single beatitudes are noticed in P.L..,
CXXI (Index IV) 23 sqq.
not affiliated with the authors of these links nor responsible for its content.
John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist. Feastday: June 24. John the
Baptist was the son of Zachary, a priest of ...
St. John the
... St. John the Baptist. Feastday: June 24. John the Baptist was the son of
a ... of his half brother Philip. John was beheaded at the request of Salome ...
Description: Short biography of St. John
... back his head. He went off and beheaded him in prison. He brought the head
... The death
of St. John the Baptist is reported in varying amounts of detail ...
John the Baptist and Forerunner
... Apostles St. Peter and St. Andrew. John baptized Jesus ... a dish. The
beheaded John and presented his ... John the Baptist was believed to be ...
St. John Feast Days
... Instructed by her mother, she asked for the head of St. John the Baptist.
that John be beheaded in the prison and his head brought on s platter ...
... St. John the Baptist. ... John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod. He was
and his head was brought to the daughter of Herodias on a platter ...
St. John the
... Glass This window depicts St. John the Baptist. John ... follow Jesus. John
by Herod Antipas because ... day of birth of John the Baptist is June 24. ...
With the Head of St John the Baptist
... Salome With the Head of St John the Baptist 1639-1640 ... is an attribute of
Baptist paintings, and the absence ... just after she has beheaded Holofernes.
of St. John the Baptist
... heard, he said, 'This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the
The lives of St. John the Forerunner and our Lord Jesus are ...
This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected,
associated with or authorized by the individual, family,
friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or
the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated
sites that are related to this subject will be hyper
linked below upon submission
and Evisum, Inc. review.
Please join us in our mission to incorporate The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The
People. Click Here