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November 1981

How blessed are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation. (Mt. 5:4) 

As you probably remember, one day in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus revolutionised the human way of thinking: he called people 'blessed' who at first glance seem the opposite of happy; the poor, the persecuted, the meek, those who try to bring peace to souls... 

So with the word that he brings to your attention today he seems to affirm the absurd. The people who really aren't blessed, the sorrowful, the desolate, those who mourn, are blessed. 

You'll ask: how do you explain this statement? 

How blessed are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation.

The Messiah came in order to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy which announces the moment when those who are suffering will be consoled: "... The Lord has annointed me ... to comfort all who mourn." (Is. 61:1-2) 

He knows in fact that the person who suffers is fortunate, is blessed, because he is more ready to accept his word and so enter his kingdom. He knows that the state of sorrow which the world is in can be transformed through him into a life of joy. 

Jesus does not have a certain kind of suffering person in mind when he refers to the sorrowful. He's thinking of anybody who is suffering, adult or child, man or woman, of any race or latitude and for whatever reason. Maybe there's been a disgrace or a calamity, an illness or the loss of a person dear to us, or the loss of our material goods or the loss of our prestige. He's thinking of times of delusion, of silent anguish of heart... 

Jesus is thinking of all these people; and of you yourself if you are suffering in this moment. 

How blessed are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation.

"They shall find consolation." 

Using the future tense of the verb Jesus is quite certainly referring to that moment when God 'will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more' for those who have suffered and suffered well. (Rev. 21:4). All this that will come about when his kingdom will be established stirs up hope in man's heart, hope which already alleviates suffering. 

But Jesus, with these words is not merely leading the suffering person to an attitude of resignation by promising a future reward.

He also thinks about the present. In fact his kingdom is already here, even if not in a definitive way. The kingdom is present in Jesus who in rising from a death suffered in the greatest sorrow, conquered death. 

His kingdom is present in us too, in our Christian hearts: God is in us. The Trinity has come to dwell in our heart. 

So the beatitude announced by Jesus takes effect from this moment. 

How blessed are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation.

In the kingdom brought by Jesus, consolation can be a daily experience for you. 

Of course there's a condition! That you live as a child of this kingdom and that you base your life on its laws, as Jesus demanded. 

He said that the sufferings which weigh us down should be accepted the way he accepted them. He wants you to "take up" your cross, he does not want you to hate it or repudiate it, or push it away or drag it after you. You must love your cross. He wants you to place it properly on your shoulders. More than that; he wants you to brandish it like a flaming torch or flag. 

Then the miracle of the kingdom takes place. God makes the cross light for you. You feel you can bear it, and you reach the point of smiling amid the tears. Inside you there's a strength which doesn't come from you, it comes from him. So you understand why he speaks of "an easy yoke and a light burden". 

Religion isn't the opium of the people which puts you to sleep so that you do not react to suffering. The suffering may remain but there's a new power which helps us to bear the trials of life, and to help others in their sufferings; a power which helps us to overcome our sufferings and to see as he saw and welcomed them, as the means of our redemption. 

Chiara Lubich



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