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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, February 17, 2018

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8/26/2016 9:21:00 AM
A note on the Beatitudes
Brian Doyle


When I was a child I thought that a Beatitude was a member of a rock band, or a cool word for a beatific attitude, or cartographer-speak for temperate latitudes. Later I got absorbed by the sheer unexpectedness of the Beatitudes, the topsy-turviness, the reversal of the usual brute orthodoxy of the world – the humble will be exalted? Whaaaat? And now, after many years of pondering the blunt mysticism of the Christos, and his insistence that the first shall be last, I sometimes find myself imagining new Beatitudes: Blessed is she who cleans the bathroom, for she is saintly, all the more so because she doesn’t grouse about it, much.

Blessed is he who actually does try to put children first in our society, rather than blubber the words family values and totally ignore kids with no food or school or bed or doctor or family. Blessed are those who get it that religions work best as verbs, not nouns. Blessed are those who are great at their craft or art but have egos the size of photons. Blessed are those who understand that attention and witness and listening and presence are the greatest gifts we can give each other.

Blessed are those who say yes without calculating the odds and debt and reward. Blessed are those who keep walking even though they are weary weary weary. Blessed are those who do the dishes without making a huge loud clattering look-at-me deal about it, and blessed is she who patiently cleans the food trap in the sink even though she has asked the family one million times to attend to this small but not small thing, and blessed be they who silently step in front of the kid on the bus whom two other kids are ragging and jostling, for they shall be thanked personally for their courage and grace by the Chief Musician, as the Psalms call the Lord of the Starfields. Blessed be they who do what they say they are going to do and do it right quick too without having to be needled by email for weeks on end.

Blessed be she who pulls her car over and edges the broken body of the young raccoon into the ravenous ditch because all beings are holy and we should be respectful of the vessels in which we conducted ourselves through this vale of tears and wonders. Blessed are those who take vows to live in service to the Church and then bend every iota of their being to keeping those vows and serving the Light in every other being, no matter how much their feet hurt at the end of the day, and how lonely they get sometimes, and how tempting it is to pretend to be an authority, and how much they occasionally yearn for a small boat, just a little one, in which to sail to Tahiti and perhaps beyond, far from their superiors and provincials and budget worries and bingo night. Blessed are those who see that humility is the final frontier and reach for other hands and loads along the road thereunto.

 

 







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