Approaching the end of the liturgical year and preparing for Advent draws our thoughts to the coming of the Messiah. It seems appropriate then that my last Beatitudes post also turns our attention to the Kingdom we long for:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
The final two beatitudes carry a warning alongside their promises. Jesus is always very direct with his disciples about the cost of following him. Truly to live by the values of the kingdom as he lays them out in the beatitudes is not easy. To live in that way risks causing painful misunderstandings and can lay us open to persecution.
Even with the best of intentions, and with the purest motives, our love, care and concern for others will not always be well received or understood. When that happens the temptation is to give up, to walk away from the situation.
This beatitude points us a different direction. Taking us back to the first beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in spirit” it calls us to revisit our motivations when our actions are misunderstood. We can ask ourselves what really compelled us to act. Were we really motivated by the best interests of others or did some part of us want recognition for our actions? Did we really offer help freely enough to allow it to be accepted or rejected?
It calls us to keep relying on God’s grace in every situation. Even when we are misjudged or misunderstood, even when our motivations are mixed, it calls us to keep trusting that grace and to persevere in building the kingdom however challenging the circumstances.
Where are you being called to persevere in building the kingdom today?