“… for theirs is the knowledge of happiness!”
If we are going to look for the common theme which runs through the Beatitudes, it would be that through these simple lessons, Yeshua is mapping out points on the path to happiness. The apostle Paul writes of the ‘natural man’ and the ‘spiritual man’ in his first letter to the Corinthians. Between these two states of being lies the path that we are invited to take, the path to happiness: moving from the state of natural man to the state of spiritual man. This is the path that Yeshua is describing, at least in part, in the Beatitudes. The truth which we learn on this path is made clear with each verse. That true happiness is rooted in the spirituality that we are learning to live out in our daily lives.
In the first of the Beatitudes, the spirituality has long been ignored, because of a simple error in punctuation. But the missing comma has not only caused the spirituality of the verse to be ignored, it has also caused the verse to be misinterpreted and woven into the church’s dogma of our unworthiness. But when we restore the missing punctuation mark, we can begin to understand the spiritual reality of learning to be happy with what we have, with a minimum of temptations, and how this can be a good thing.
The second Beatitude doesn’t seem to point out spirituality either, yet as we move on through the Beatitudes, we come to the understanding that when the body of the ‘natural man’ stops living, the spirit continues on to a better place. With time to overcome the ‘natural man’ in ourselves, and move beyond our mourning, we can return to the sense of joy which that knowledge gives us.
The third and the fifth Beatitudes also help us focus on the transition to spiritual man. These Beatitudes help us remember that we must actively participate in the life we are living, by being with, helping, and having compassion for those around us. The fact is that the people around us may not appear to be challenged as much as people who are starving, or homeless, or sick with a disease or an illness of some kind. But the truth is that we need to participate in the life and circumstances that we are in, and that we can find ways to help those around us, and have compassion for them, even though the problems that they face may seem less significant than those we hear about on the evening news.
The fourth and sixth Beatitudes are also similar, and they are also based on a sense of spirituality that we don’t always recognize at first glance. But it is in our spirituality that we recognize this truth: our success and failures are not measured by the physical actions which we attempt, whether or not they are successful. The successes or failures of the actions we take are measured by the motivation with which we undertake these actions.
The seventh Beatitude continues this discourse on spirituality by giving us an understanding of the true nature of ‘spiritual man’; that the spiritual man is a part of God. And finally, the last Beatitude helps us remember that not only is the transition to ‘spiritual man’ challenging, but that we can expect no support from the world around us, (though we can expect support from God) as we seek to move into the ‘higher self’.
So Yeshua sat down, and taught the people. With these eight Beatitudes, He taught them about the knowledge of happiness, He taught them about the spirituality of man, and He taught them, that they too, were a part of God.
Grace and peace to you all,