To be a beatitude

Yesterday's Gospel centred on the Beatitudes, with which, we are told, Jesus started his Sermon on the Mount. St Oscar Romero said they subvert what the world believes in: certainly, they call us not to work at becoming the greatest or richest or most powerful, but to the radical values and attitudes of a disciple of Jesus. Gentleness... purity of heart... an awareness of our needs before God... peacemaking... hunger for justice... This is where blessedness lies; where we can find our deepest joy.

We call them the Beatitudes, and many of us grew up knowing Jesus' words as pronouncing the meek and the merciful, the persecuted and mourners as 'blessed' - reflecting the original makarios. I still prefer that word to 'happy', which is what we hear at Mass. Somehow, the word happiness never feels as profound, or interior, as joy. I was interested to discover that Nick King translates makarios as congratulations, and comments that what Jesus offers is quite the opposite of the congratulations that people normally offer one another.

But Beatitudes is what we mostly call them, and beatitude - blessedness - is the word I take with me into this week. What, I wonder, can it mean to consciously receive this week and all it will bring as beatitude; as blessedness and gift? And what can it mean, how can it become, to consciously offer beatitude - to want to be a beatitude, a blessing to others? To be a beatitude in my encounters and in my work; in my one-off chats and the many, many emails I send. And to be a blessing in how I pray for others, especially those to whom I have promised this.

And you; how do you feel called to be a beatitude this week?