I came back to God because of the Beatitudes, and came to the Catholic faith because I could see how it came down to us historically.
In today’s homily, the deacon mentioned that some translations substitute “happy” with “blessed”. This can be true, but let’s examine modern ‘happiness’. Our English word “happy” is simply defined as, “Fortunate or lucky…. cheerful…contented…characterized by or indicative of pleasure….”. The biblical presentation of “happy” is more substantive. For instance, the Bible does not present happiness as an experience that just happens because of luck or some shallow euphoric state of mind. One, according to the Bible, can be happy while being corrected by God, suffering for the sake of righteousness, and being reproached for the name of Christ (Job 5: 17; I Pet. 3: 14; 4: 14). There are five Hebrew and two Greek words translated happy in the scriptures. One Hebrew word means “to be at rest, safe” (see Matt. 11: 28-30).
We need to often understand that words have different meaning to different people. (words such as “love”, “marriage”, truth”, “dignity”, “salvation” to name a few) And usually, it’s a totally different meaning in the bible than what we understand the word to mean today. When we read the bible, we need to know or have an understanding of what the words meant, and to my mind, the best way to know is to read what the early Church Fathers thought. In fact, this is how we know whether we’re on the right track on any given subject. Since God is truth, and truth is immutable, God is immutable. Therefore, what he taught while He was with us on earth did not change what was written. So the apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, brought what Jesus taught, the truth, to us, handing it down through the centuries. Truths have not changed, because God cannot change. So “What was in the Beginning is now. And ever shall be.”
We know that people change, and they change the definition of what something really is. But men are fallen, not to be trusted. Our trust is to be totally in God, and Him alone.
Anyway, thank you to the priest that I went to when I was in serious trouble. Thank you for handing me a book that began with the Beatitudes. And thanks be to God that I had enough in me to realize that true happiness, true blessedness doesn’t come from satisfying myself. It comes from fulfilling the needs of others. I spend much of my life trying to show this to others, to spread the good news.