Jesus speaks to the crowd from the mountain overlooking the sea of Galilee. There is a church built on top of this mountain today. It is beautiful and the acoustics are amazing. You can understand why Jesus would teach here. This famous sermon recorded in Matthew is often referred to as “the sermon on the mount”. The first few verses are commonly called the beatitudes. I never really understood why we call them that, but since I was a child, I just accepted the word “beatitude” having no idea what it meant. To me it almost looks like it means “beautiful attitude,” and I suppose that’s not a bad description. But, thanks to modern technology and Google, I know the truth.
“Beatitude” is Latin. The Latin word for happy is “beatus” and as a noun “beatitudo”. When Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, he began each phrase with the word “Beati” which translates into English as blessed or happy. So the noun in English is beatitude.
We saw the cave where Saint Jerome lived for 30 years translating the Bible when we visited Bethlehem. They would lower his food to him on a rope, and he never left the cave for those 30 years, then he died in that very cave. He is buried there today. There is a Catholic church built on top of the cave. Fittingly the church is named for St. Jerome.
As you ponder the following beatitudes perhaps you should call them the happinesses as you read them. For we can only find true happiness through serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
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 the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.”