"Blessed are the poor in spirit" is the first of the beatitudes in Matthew's Gospel (Matt. 5:3-10).  THE POOR IN SPIRIT are the humble, the truthful, or those who know and accept the fact that everything they have has been given to them. This beatitude holds a place of primacy as the most basic attitude of anyone who wishes to "enter" the Kingdom of God.  However, I believe the second beatitude, "Blessed are those who mourn," is the one which holds the key to understanding  the other six beatitudes.

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN are those who allow themselves to suffer the pain (the tension) of seeing where they would like to be even though they are not there yet.  I would like to be more careful about what I eat and drink.  I would like to deal better with my anger and my fear.  I would like our society to respect life more.  I would like more wholesome entertainment on TV.  But, neither I nor society are ready to change yet.  For me to admit this and to live with it is painful.  I mourn!

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN (who can suffer the pain)  will resist  the temptation of trying to control and manipulate by force and fear.  They don't try to force themselves or others to behave.  Thus, they are
MEEK. "Blessed are the meek...."

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN, on the other hand, will suffer the pain long enough that the mourning eventually turns into a passion.  It turns into a
HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS which motivates them to have the courage to change the things they can. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...."

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN (who can suffer the pain) will resist the temptation to give up.  They don't impose deadlines with a threat of rejection.  They wait patiently for all to learn their lessons no matter how long it takes.  And so they are called
MERCIFUL.  "Blessed are the merciful...."

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN don't have to turn to the thousands of diversions and escapes which our culture offers as "pain killers."  Rather, they keep their hearts focused totally on the Kingdom.  So, they are called
PURE IN HEART.  "Blessed are the pure in heart...."

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN (who can suffer the pain) will resist the temptation to "speed up" the Kingdom by dividing people and things into "the good" and "the evil" in order to simply write off those they have labeled "evil."  Rather, they find ways to unify and integrate everyone and everything. Thus, they are called
PEACEMAKERS.  "Blessed are the peacemakers...."

THOSE WHO CAN MOURN, then, are those who can hang in there and remain faithful even when they are misunderstood and accused of being just the opposite of what they really are.  So, they become the
PERSECUTED. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake...."

Therefore, if we wish to experience the victory of Easter and "enter" the Kingdom, we must be able to MOURN.  We must LEARN to mourn.


  2014 Rev. John Vogler