Homework ( 30.01.2008 )
Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: Blessed are you poor, for yours is the
Blessed are you who hunger (for justice—Matthew 5:6) now, for you shall be filled.
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for indeed your reward is great in heaven (Luke 6:17-23).
In today’s Holy Gospel according to Luke which we heard, we notice that out of the nine beatitudes which, for instance, we encounter in the Gospel according to Matthew, only three have been named. I find the order of presentation of these beatitudes rather interesting…
Were we to compare the beatitudes, as expounded by Luke, with the ones, as expounded by Matthew, we would see that those beatitudes have been chosen which can explain or elucidate the essence of all the others. The core of the beatitudes has been chosen.
If we continue to rationalize why it is this way, based on the mentioned comparison, we will conclude that in the Gospel according to Luke, the first beatitude has been chosen, which, also appears in the same sequence as in Matthew and which depicts the first and fundamental phase of the first level of our spiritual development—purification of the heart from the passions.
That is right. The note that all the stages (or levels) of our spiritual development that the Holy Fathers have described and explained to us, is correct, and we can find them in the New Testament of our Lord, the Godman Jesus Christ. And it is correct that the four Evagelists describe all of our human thoughts, words, and deeds in the framework of the three stages of spiritual development: purification of the heart from the passions, illumination of the mind in the profundity of the heart, and deification of the person—both of the soul and of the body.
There exist other transitional phases, but we will talk about that on another occasion… For now, it is important to remind you of what the Holy Fathers say, that at all of the three stages of our spiritual development, the grace of the Holy Spirit, which we possess within ourselves as members of the Church, assists us in the manner of: purifying grace, illuminating grace, and deifying grace.
The second enumerated beatitude in the Gospel according to Luke we find as fourth in sequence in the Gospel according to Matthew. This beatitude describes the first and fundamental phase of the second stage of our spiritual development—illumination of the mind.
The third enumerated beatitude in the Gospel according to Luke we find as ninth in sequence in the Gospel according to Matthew. Unlike the first two, this beatitude describes the last, or transitional phase of the third stage of our spiritual development—deification.
Therefore, we can divide all beatitudes into three groups, in accordance with the three levels of our spiritual development. Each level encompasses exactly three beatitudes. With this in mind, the first, fourth, and seventh beatitude describe the first and fundamental phases of the respective levels, while the third and the sixth beatitude describe the transitional phases from a stage to a stage, that is, from the stage of purification to a stage of illumination, and from a stage of illumination to a stage of deification. Normally, the last, or ninth beatitude, is also a transitional phase, one from this to the other world, that is, from this transient world and age to the infinite
It is your homework, my children, to explain to me in writing, based on what I have already told you, the first and the fourth beatitude and to tell me why it is with these beatitudes that the first and fundamental phases of the respective stages begin! I think that with what I have told you today, I have helped you enough. I will check your homework, and at the same time I will quiz you on Sunday.