Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
21 “God blesses you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is given to you.
God blesses you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
for the time will come when you will laugh with joy.
22God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed
because you are identified with me, the Son of Man.
23“When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were also treated that way by your ancestors.
Some believe that the hunger about which Jesus spoke is a hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Others say this is physical hunger. In any case, in a nation where riches were seen as a sign of God’s favor, Jesus startled his hearers by pronouncing blessings on the hungry. In doing so, however, he was in line with an ancient tradition. The Old Testament is filled with texts proclaiming God’s concern for the poor and needy. See, for example, 1 Samuel 2:5; Psalm 146:7; Isaiah 58:6, 7; and Jesus’ own mother’s prayer in Luke 1:53.
… the Beatitudes are foundational attitudes of the spiritual life and that they give form to it as a whole. They are responses to the human aspiration to experience the blessed life, or what St. Catherine of Genoa calls the “instinct for beatitude.” They are invitations from a personal God to each of us as persons, calling us to the destiny of peace and joy. These eight attitudes involve all that we have been, all that we are, all that we shall become. They communicate a living expression of the divine direction of each human life.
The Beatitudes preserve the wisdom of the formation tradition, a wisdom we can rely upon in the ebb and flow of changing times. They provide a solid foundation on which to build our life of faith. When we live the Beatitudes in and with the Lord, we become liberated persons in the fullest sense. We follow the path of purgation until, with Jesus, we are filled with the peace of surrender to the Father and led by his Spirit to new depths of intimacy with the Indwelling Trinity. These ways of going to God offer us a truly holistic pattern of formation that involves our entire existence from birth to death and beyond.
How do the values Jesus talks about here compare with the values I am sold every day on TV? no comparison.Which set of values do I and my family buy into? God’s. Which promise means the most to me now? “Mine is the Kingdom of God.” I
If you could add another “blessed” to counteract the values on TV, what would I add? “Blessed are those who love God with their WHOLE heart, mind, soul and strength, for they shall share his love forever.
The Trainer and Training
Training, of course can be very gratifying work, but it doesn’t take long for any of us to discover that training also is emotionally draining, hard work. It involves intensive concentration and sometimes brings feelings of pain as we see so many people hurting. When these people fail to improve, as often happens, it is easy to blame ourselves, try harder and wonder what went wrong. As more and more needy people come for lifestyle training, there is a tendency to keep increasing our training load, thus pushing ourselves closer to the limits of our endurance. Sometimes the trainee’s problems remind us of our own insecurities or conflicts and this can threaten our stability or feelings of self-worth. Little wonder that training is seen as both a fulfilling and a hazardous ministry.
The Trainers Motivation
Why do you want to train? Some Christian trainers, especially pastors, have been thrust into this work by people who have come unsolicited for help with their problems. Other trainers have encouraged trainees to seek help and have taken special training so they can help those in need. This effort was based on the valid assumption that training is one of the most effective ways to minister to others, offering them a better “Quality of Life.” As we have seen, the Bible commands mutual caring and this surely involves training. A sincere desire to help people to grow spiritually is a valid reason for becoming a trainer, but there are other reasons which motivate trainers and which interfere with their training effectiveness:
Curiosity – The Need for Information. In describing their problems, trainees often give interesting tidbits of information which might not be shared otherwise. When a trainer is curious he or she sometimes forgets the trainee, pushes for extra information and often is unable to keep confidences. For these reasons, people prefer to avoid curious trainers.
The Need for Relationships. Everyone needs closeness and intimate contacts with at least two or three other people. For some trainees, the trainer will be their closest friend, at least temporarily. But what if trainers have no close friends apart from trainees? In such cases the trainer’s need for a relationship may hinder the helping. The trainer does not really want trainees to improve and terminate training since this would terminate the relationship. If you look for opportunities to prolong the training, to call the trainee, or to get together socially, the relationship may be meeting your needs for companionship as much (or more) as it is helping the trainee. At this point the trainer – trainee involvement has ceased to be a ministry relationship.
The Need for Power. The authoritarian trainer likes to “straighten out” others, give advice (even when it is not requested), and play the “problem solver” role. Some dependent trainees may want this but they are not helped if their lives are controlled by someone else. And most people eventually will resist the controller type of trainer. He or she is not really a Christian leader/minister/trainer.
The Need to Rescue. The rescuer takes responsibility away from the trainee by demonstrating an attitude which says “you can’t handle this; let me do it for you.” This has been called the “do-good,” messiah approach. It may satisfy the trainee for a while but it rarely helps permanently. When the rescue technique fails (as often happens) the trainer feels guilty and inadequate – like a messiah unable to save the lost.
It is probable that every perceptive trainer will experience these tendencies at times but such tendencies must be resisted. When a person comes for training he or she takes the risk of sharing personal information and committing themselves to the trainer’s care. The trainer violates this trust and hence undermines training effectiveness if the training relationship is used primarily to satisfy the trainer’s own needs.