CCC 520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man”,1 who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.2
CCC 544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”;3 he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”4 To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned.5 Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation.6 Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.7
CCC 581 The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.8 He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.9 Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes”.10 In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.11 Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old. .. But I say to you. ..”12 With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God”.13
CCC 1716 The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward is great in heaven.14
CCC 1720 The New Testament uses several expressions to characterize the beatitude to which God calls man:
– the coming of the Kingdom of God;15 – the vision of God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”16
– entering into the joy of the Lord;17
– entering into God’s rest:18
There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?19
CCC 2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic “Prince of Peace.”20 By the blood of his Cross, “in his own person he killed the hostility,”21 he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. “He is our peace.”22 He has declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”23
CCC 2518 The sixth beatitude proclaims, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”24 “Pure in heart” refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God’s holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;25 chastity or sexual rectitude;26 love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.27 There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith:
The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed “so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe.”28
CCC 2546 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”29 The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs:30
The Word speaks of voluntary humility as “poverty in spirit”; the Apostle gives an example of God’s poverty when he says: “For your sakes he became poor.”31
1 GS 38; cf. Rom 1 5:5; Phil 2:5.
2 Cf. Jn 13:15; Lk 11:1; Mt 5:11-12.
3 Lk 4:18; cf. 7:22.
4 Mt 5:3.
5 Cf. Mt 11:25.
6 Cf. Mt 21:18; Mk 2:23-26; Jn 4:6 1; 19:28; Lk 9:58.
7 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
8 Cf Jn 11:28; 3:2; Mt 22:23-24, 34-36.
9 Cf. Mt 12:5; 9:12; Mk 2:23-27; Lk 6:6-g; Jn 7:22-23.
10 Mt 7:28-29.
11 Cf. Mt 5:1.
12 Mt 5:33-34.
13 Mk 7:13; cf. 3:8.
14 Mt 5:3-12.
15 Cf. Mt 4:17.
16 Mt 5:8; cf. 1 Jn 2; 1 Cor 13:12.
17 Mt 25:21-23.
18 Cf. Heb 4:7-11.
19 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 22, 30, 5: PL 41,804.
20 Isa 9:5.
21 Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22.
22 Eph 2:14.
23 Mt 5:9.
24 Mt 5:8.
25 Cf. 1 Tim 4:3-9; 2 Tim 2:22.
26 Cf. 1 Thess 4:7; Col 3:5; Eph 4:19.
27 Cf. Titus 1:15; 1 Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:23-26.
28 St. Augustine, Defide et symbolo 10, 25: PL 40, 196.
29 Mt 5:3.
30 Cf. Lk 6:20.
31 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus 1: PG 44, 1200D; cf. 2 Cor 8:9.