THE BEATITUDES AND THE CROSS
Many current political and social problems have caused me to wonder why it
is that our pro-life work seems so difficult.
We can't be popular with politicians unless we agree to compromise.
We can't get the media to pay attention unless they can characterize what
we are doing as despicable.
We can't make others see the reality of abortion as an intentional act that
murders an innocent baby.
Sometimes, this gets a bit overwhelming, doesn't it?
And yes, it makes us tired, too.
But then I happened upon a most remarkable explanation of the Beatitudes, by
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, in his wonderful and timeless book, Life of Christ.
And I realized at once that our work simply cannot be measured in human
terms at all. For if we live the Beatitudes, as we are called to do, then
you and I have also chosen the Cross.
Once you have read this brochure, I hope it brings the joy and warmth to
your heart that it brought to mine, just realizing the truth in these words
and satisfying my burning desire to share them with you by having this
The Sermon on the Mount is so much at variance with all that our world holds
dear that the world will crucify anyone who tries to live up to its values.
Because Christ preached them, He had to die. Calvary was the price He paid
for the Sermon on the Mount. Only mediocrity survives. Those who call black
black, and white white, are sentenced for intolerance. Only the grays live.
Let Him Who says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," come into the world that
believes in the primacy of the economic; let Him stand in the market place
where some men live for collective profit, or where others say men live for
individual profit, and see what happens. He will be so poor that during
life He will have nowhere to lay His head; a day will come when He will die
without anything of economic worth. In His last hour He will be so
impoverished that they will strip Him of His garments and even give Him a
stranger's grave for His burial, as He had a stranger's stable for His birth.
Let Him come into the world which proclaims the gospel of the strong, which
advocates hating our enemies, which condemns Christian virtues as the "soft"
virtues, and say to that world, "Blessed are the patient," and He will one
day feel the scourges of the strong barbarians laid across His back; He
will be struck on the cheek by a mocking fist during one of His trials; He
will see men take a sickle and cut the grass from a hill on Calvary, and
then use a hammer to pinion Him to a Cross to test the patience of One Who
endures the worst that evil has to offer, that having exhausted itself it
might eventually turn to Love.
Let him come into our world which ridicules the idea of sin as morbidity,
considers reparation for past guilt as a guilt complex and preach to that
world, "Blessed are they who mourn" for their sins; and He will be
blindfolded and mocked as a fool. They will take His Body and scourge it,
until His bones can be numbered; they will crown His head with thorns, until
He begins to weep not salt tears but crimson beads of blood, as they laugh
at the weakness of Him Who will not come down from the Cross.
Let Him come into the world which denies Absolute Truth, which says that
right and wrong are only questions of point of view, that we must be broad-
minded about virtue and vice, and let Him say to them, "Blessed are they
who hunger and thirst after holiness," that is, after the Absolute, after
the Truth which "I am"; and they will in their broad-mindedness give the
mob the choice of Him or Barabbas; they will crucify Him with thieves,
and try to make the world believe that God is no different from a batch
of robbers who are His bedfellows in death.
Let him come into a world which says that "my neighbor is hell," that all
which is opposite me is nothing, that the ego alone matters, that my will
is supreme law, that what I decide is good, that I must forget others and
think only of myself, and say to them, "Blessed are the merciful." He will
find that He will receive no mercy; they will open five streams of blood out
of His Body; they will pour vinegar and gall into His thirsting mouth;
and, even after His death, be so merciless as to plunge a spear into His
Let Him come into a world which tries to interpret man in terms of sex;
which regards purity as coldness, chastity as frustrated sex, self-
containment as abnormality, and the union of husband and wife until death
as boredom; which says that a marriage endures only so long as the glands
endure, that one may unbind what God binds and unseal what God seals. Say
to them, "Blessed are the pure"; and He will find Himself hanging naked
on a Cross, made a spectacle to men and angels in a last wild crazy
affirmation that purity is abnormal, that the virgins are neurotics, and
that carnality is right.
Let Him come into a world which believes that one must resort to every
manner of chicanery and duplicity in order to conquer the world, carrying
doves of peace with stomachs full of bombs, say to them, "Blessed are the
peacemakers," or "Blessed are they who eradicate sin that there may be
peace"; and He will find Himself surrounded by men engaged in the silliest
of all wars- a war against the Son of God; making violence with steel and
wood, pinions and gall and then setting a watch over His grave that He who
lost the battle might not win the day.
Let Him come into a world that believes that our whole life should be
geared to flattering and influencing people for the sake of utility and
popularity, and say to them: "Blessed are you when men hate, persecute,
and revile you"; and He will find Himself without a friend in the world,
an outcast on a hill, with mobs shouting His death, and His flesh hanging
from Him like purple rags.
The Beatitudes cannot be taken alone: they are not ideals; they are hard
facts and realities inseparable from the Cross of Calvary. What He taught
was self-crucifixion: to love those who hate us; to pluck out eyes and cut
off arms in order to prevent sinning; to be clean on the inside when the
passions clamor for satisfaction on the outside; to forgive those who
would put us to death; to overcome evil with good; to bless those who
curse us; to stop mouthing freedom until we have justice, truth and love
of God in our hearts as the condition of freedom; to live in the world and
still keep oneself unpolluted from it; to deny ourselves sometimes
legitimate pleasures in order the better to crucify our egotism-all this
is to sentence the old man in us to death.
Let us Pray:
What ill or evil, Lord, can harm
This joyous heart that You alone can charm?
I love You more with every breath,
So how can If ear life or death?
To love You, Father, is to live and sing
The songs the angels sing their King.
God alone in every cell of me!
God alone! For all eternity!
St. Louis Marie de Montfort
American Life League, Inc.
P.O. Box 1350
Stafford, VA 22555
Cost: $.30 each
$20.00 for 100
391994 American Life League, Inc.