This Beatitude gives us a paradoxical perspective on the ways of the world. It is natural, it seems, for us to wish to be liked and respected. It reflects on our self image, our self-esteem. We want to feel as though we belong.
But, as Christians, we must always remember that the way we are commanded to live in this world is often in opposition to the ways of the world. We are to be in the world, but not of it. If we are living in accord with the commandments, if we are living in imitation of Jesus, we are going to often find ourselves insulted and persecuted by those who do not believe. Those who do not understand our actions and words and those who hate those words and actions will say “all kinds of evil against us” because they are in defiance of God.
All of this is true, of course, but we know that if we are humbly and willingly following Christ, we will be blessed. If we suffer willingly because of his name, we know that we will be blessed even more. And we know who it is that is blessing us. We do not choose to live in accord with Jesus to gain earthly praise, or fame. That would be foolish, for such things are ephemeral, temporary and do not satisfy in the end. We choose to live the Christ life in order to please God, to give thanks to him for his generous mercies and his unconditional love. We know that our salvation is in him alone.
Knowing that we are blessed by God provides us with a joy that the world can not give. To be blessed by God, to enjoy his supportive graces, is to come to know ourselves as he does. Our self-esteem is the result of our relationship with God. It is in him that we live, move, and have our being. It is when we begin to realize the depth of love that God has for us intimately and personally, that is when we begin to experience the self-esteem that comes from God. Because he loves us, we are able to learn to love as he did. As the Apostle John tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
Lord, help us to know your love in our hearts so that we will be strong enough to bear the insults, the persecutions, and the evil things that others may say about us because of our love for you. Give us the graces we need to be your willing, humble and faithful servants in this world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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