The Beatitudes from today's Gospel of St. Matthew are not the U.S. government standard way of proceeding but ours as Catholic Christians marked deeply by Christ’s cross. The life of Gospel values which Jesus presents to his disciples as a plan for God’s Kingdom is intrinsically counter-cultural, still is, and always was. We rejoice when there is a confluence between Jesus’ ideals of care for the poor and justice for the oppressed and the policies and practices of our nation. When there is not, we promise always with him to prefer the poor and the needy, to protect their rights and do all we can to alleviate their suffering.
As monks our woundedness and poverty is everything; it’s all we’ve got to show- all we’ve got to offer Christ, offer the Church, even perhaps what we as monks can offer our country- the reality of total dependence on the mercy of God from moment to moment. Ours is certainly not the crushing poverty of the totally dispossessed and homeless, we dare not compare it. Still it’s all we’ve got- all the stuff we’ve got no choice about. And we believe it’s the very place where blessing and mercy can intrude and take root- poverty as blest by God’s loving regard. We are truly blessed, when our poverty is blest as emptiness filled to overflowing with Christ’s peace and most affectionate compassion. This is everything for us as monks. And what is more, we believe that our true blessedness depends upon our willingness to become ourselves mercy-doers, mercy-makers for all who are poor wherever we notice them.
Photograph by Brother Daniel.