St. Chromatius of Aquileia, “Sermon on the Beatitudes,” quoted in Glimpses of the Church Fathers, by Claire Russell (London: Sceptor Press, 1996), p. 215, 219.

Pillar and Bulwark | 9/17/2019 | Staff
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The first step, “blessed are the poor in spirit,” refers to detachment from the world, and therefore choosing an attachment to Jesus Christ. Here is a poverty that we choose, regardless of material wealth or condition in life. Though certainly not always the case, there are poor people who sadly envy what others have. There are, also, rich folks who recognize that everything they have is a gift from God, for which they are eternally responsible, and therefore focus on filling the needs of the poor. This poverty of spirit involves seeing life from the perspective of God the Father: material things are good in themselves, but not as ends; they are only fleeting, and of no eternal value.

This first step involves, essentially what the first disciples did: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mk 1:18). All of Jesus’ instructions on discipleship begin here, and one must not turn back: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62).

Reward - Detachment - Kingdom - World - Kingdom

The reward for detachment from the kingdom of this world is “the kingdom of heaven.” A crisis can arise, however, when a person starts to “mourn” for the things they’ve left behind or could have had. We can fall back, through our choices, to our old attachments, or we can willingly, by grace, choose to move to the next step.

Step two (“Blessed are those who mourn”) involves detachment from sin in obedience to Jesus Christ: mourning how the sins to which we have become attached have separated us from God and from becoming the people He created us to be. The reward for remorse and repentance is being “comforted”, or having an inner affirmation of being forgiven, cleansed by grace — new creations by grace. A crisis can...
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