Have you ever had something to eat that is so flavorful that you ask, “Who made this? I would love to have the recipe.”
I have a brother who is a doctor and his assistant would bring a popcorn treat into the office to share. Everyone enjoyed it and talked about how she should market it. Well, after many years, she finally took that advice to heart. Now her popcorn products have become so popular that she and her family are financially set for life.
Last Monday we celebrated All Saints day and we read from the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount. It begins with the Beatitudes which Jesus gives to us as a recipe for growing in sanctity, if we take Jesus’ words to heart.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” This first Beatitude corresponds and deepens the First Commandment of God, “I am the Lord your
God, you shall have no other gods beside me.”
When a person is poor in spirit, they look to enrich themselves by taking the Word of God to heart. They seek after the things of God by reading the Bible, praying, especially the Rosary, and working for the Lord. This life ingredient gives a person a taste for the Holy things of God.
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This second beatitude or ingredient corresponds with the Second Commandment of God, “You shall not take God’s name in vain.” If you meditate on this beatitude you discover that the only thing that makes a Christian sad is sin and its effects.
We call ourselves by Christ’s name as Christians, but our sins show us that we are not perfect. This makes us sorrowful. However, because we are practicing Christians, we know that we can repent of our sins, assuredly by celebrating the Sacrament of Confession, and Jesus Christ will forgive us and comfort us by restoring us to his saving grace.
The most difficult ingredient in becoming a saint is the last beatitude, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against
you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
This beatitude corresponds with the last two Commandments: “You shall not covet you neighbor’s wife, you shall not covet your neighbors’ goods.” Let’s face it, we want to be comfortable in this world. We sometimes avoid being insulted and persecuted for defending Jesus Christ and his Church’s teachings.
However, there are others like Christoph Probst, a German medical student and father of three who resisted German Nazism – National Socialism. He grew up an agnostic, was raised by a Jewish stepmother, but was inspired by the principle of religious freedom that was under attack by the Nazis, and defended mightily by the Catholic Church.
Christoph joined a resistant group called “White Rose” which wrote and distributed leaflets in opposition to Nazi philosophy. He was caught with leaflets that opposed Adolf Hitler and thus was executed in Munich, Germany.
Before his death Christoph Probst called for a priest, was baptized, celebrated the Sacrament of Confession, and told the priest, “Now my death will be easy and joyful.” His youngest child was just four weeks old.
Christoph Probst was probably tempted to “covet” the life of his neighbor who just went along to get along with the Nazis. But the truth of God spurred him on to resist evil in all its forms at great sacrifice. He may not be a canonized saint (yet), but saintly people like him who are in the fullness of heaven, are an example
for all of us and are celebrated on All Saints Day.
Jesus said that all his followers will be salted with fire. This fire is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the main ingredient to holiness. God spurs us on to learn and follow
the Beatitudes that Jesus Christ taught and lived out perfectly.
Those who taste suffering because of the evil they are opposing in today’s world can take Jesus’ words to heart:“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe