Living the Beatitudes

Living The Beatitudes

A biblical vision for holiness in everyday life

An important document for teachers to explore is Pope Francis’ 2018 Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate – ‘On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World’. This document is profound, life-changing, relatively short and easy to read.

In Chapter 3 Pope Francis offers a biblically grounded vision of holiness, pointing out (in GE, 63) that ‘Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card… In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.’

Pope Francis also notes how Jesus expands on the Beatitude of mercy when he teaches one clear criterion on which we will be judged: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…’ (Mt 25:35-36). (See GE, 95)

This is my Mum, Joan Cunningham. Throughout her life, she cared for people who were disadvantaged. She volunteered for Vinnies for 40 years. She looked after two orphaned boys. She also took an unmarried mother into our home despite some criticism – this was the 1970s.

Her favourite Scripture passage (which is now one of my favourite passages) was read at her funeral:

When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me… Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Shared by Mary Connor, Broken Bay Diocese