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"Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light" (SH 266:27). What is the beatific presence that Jesus lived and taught to his disciples? Saint Matthew describes the scene: "He went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them" (Matt 5:1-2). Then Jesus delivered his sermon on what it means to be a child of God. We might call the first part of that sermon Jesus' song - his Beatitudes. He knew that these brief blessings describe both a nous consciousness (immediate knowledge) for the genuine Christian and an incremental process of realization for mankind. Sooner or later, "mortals must follow Jesus' sayings and his demonstrations, which dominate the flesh," for there is no other way out of the hell of mortal beliefs (SH 266:24). "Perfect and infinite Mind enthroned is heaven. The evil beliefs which originate in mortals are hell" (SH 266:25).
As an enlightened state of consciousness, the Beatitudes enumerate the continual attitude and activity of the Christly minded - those who acknowledge and obey one supreme, infinite God. To the wandering mortal mind in search of redemption, the Beatitudes offer a series of lessons arranged as stepping stones to grace, the first being the foundational requirement of humility, followed by states and stages of spiritual preparation and practice. Each step receives the assurance that the mental preparation or task is both worthwhile and necessary and that the reward is inevitable. Notice that the prophetic blessing for both the first and last Beatitudes is identical - "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Resolution of the last challenge requires the mental attitude of the first and vice versa - we cannot overcome persecution without absolute humility, and we cannot grow in grace without rejecting the lies of material sense.
All the Beatitudes are interconnected as
Love's universal embrace of all creation. The lessons are cumulative,
and the grace learned by each lesson must be maintained in order
to progress to the next blessing. The first four Beatitudes are
preparatory, identifying the mental framework of the Christ man;
the next three are proactive, where success is realized by the
fruit it bears in blessing one's neighbor; and the last one focuses
on the trial that leads to resurrection - the loss of all material
reliance and the return of man's awareness of his heavenly home.
When the material senses are of no help, when we turn away from mortal memories, when we know that we do not know, when we answer the Lord's call to "come out from among them, and be ye separate," then we have become helplessly humble (II Cor 6:17). Finding ourselves still conscious after mortal mind's methods have been exhausted, we hope for something better than dreamland disappointments. Hopefulness is neither prejudiced nor opinionated; it merely waits for a solution that is not attributed to one's self. Hope disassociates man from mortal mind, foretelling the dawn of a higher faith. As we orient ourselves to the straight and narrow pathway through the valley of the shadow of death, we begin to remember heaven's hymn and walk forth with joy.
After we get humble and discover that we are not separate from God, we look around at our meager accomplishments and realize that all the things of this world are vain, that not even our bodies or life itself belongs to us. We ask, 'Why have we been so foolish and worked so hard for nothing but illusions?' Giving up our pursuit of the pleasures of this world is a mournful occasion, but "sorrow has its reward. It never leaves us where it found us. The furnace separates the gold from the dross that the precious metal may be graven with the image of God" (SH 66:30). Forgetting the mistakes of the past and forsaking the expectation of future enchantments requires more than a passive desire for Christ. Sin and hypocrisy are addictions that continue to haunt us until the end of error. "Yet to escape from sin, is what the Bible demands. 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,' says the apostle, and he straightway adds: 'for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure'" (SH 99:4).
Meekness is not moved by nature's wrath or by mortal man's aggressive ego. Jesus expounded on meekness this way: "Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt 5: 39). Attempting to destroy error with error does not eliminate error but merely binds the mistake to one's self. Are not we the beholder of the error in the first place? Meekness is the tool that breaks the cycle of vengeance and foretells the doom of all oppression. Mortal mind requires universal consent to continue its delusions. The meek do not participate, and, therefore, they are the ones who qualify for earth's stewardship. "Let them have dominion over . . . all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen 1:26).
Paul said we must "be instant in season, out of season" (II Tim 4:2). Often, Jesus' disciples were too late or too dull to follow in his footsteps. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus "saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:37?38). Dullness and the resulting hesitation always lead to disaster and prove one's lack of worthiness. "Waking to Christ's demand, mortals experience suffering. This causes them, even as drowning men, to make vigorous efforts to save themselves; and through Christ's precious love these efforts are crowned with success" (SH 22:6). "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, . . . that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Luke 12:35?36). Christ is forever calling on us. Are we listening? Are we ready to respond? "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching" (Luke 12:37).
If we have been practicing the lessons of the preceding Beatitudes and living them, we realize that hope and faith have prepared us to share Christ, Truth - to love our neighbor as Jesus did. Humility, repentance, meekness, and earnest desire are now present in consciousness, and we are ready to transform our tattered sense of earth to heavenly forms of grace. It is time to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons!
Mercy is the natural effect of universal Love, inspiring spiritualized man to share his bounty. When the Samaritan saw the man who had been robbed and wounded, "he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (Luke 10:33?34). Jesus said to the man that was born blind, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam," and he that was blind "came seeing" (John 9:7). To the woman who was bowed together, he said, "Thou art loosed from thine infirmity," and she stood up straight (Luke 13:12). When Jesus went to the gravesite of Lazarus, commanding that the stone be rolled away, "he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth" (John 11:43?44). Merciful desire continues to coax us toward even greater works than these. Divine Love is realized in proportion as it is magnified and acts of mercy confirm man's ascent. "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (I Cor 13:13).
The sixth day of creation, the sixth revelatory message to the church of brotherly love in Philadelphia, and the sixth Beatitude are keystone messages in Scripture. They each point to divine Love as the means, the method, the high goal, and the final understanding. Christ is the man that is made in God's image, and Jesus' sinless career unveils the nature and purity of Christ for all to see and understand. What greater love could Jesus give than to illustrate how to attain a pure heart? Jesus said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). We, too, must be lifted up to behold the Comforter with eyes open to what was once a mystery - the Science of Love. Take the little open book, and let it be graven upon consciousness. Speak to all mankind with the voice of an angel, comfort the grieving, heal those under the spell of sickness, cleanse contagion, raise those who are dead in sin to spiritual life, and melt away wicked resistance to the truth. "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it" (Rev 3:8). Be it known that "Love is the liberator," the creator and the revelation of the Son of God! (SH 225:21).
War will persist on the human scene until inner peace is earned and won. We have been graciously provided with all the tools necessary: hope, belief, faith, conscience, intuition, the examples of Jesus and the prophets, the little open book, and plenty of opportunities to love our enemies. The divine method of peacemaking must confirm that the Son of man has no enemies, for we are all the children of light. The "woman clothed with the sun" in Revelation twelve, embodies the genuine peacemaker. Her enlightened consciousness is ordained to bring forth the man of peace - God's man, forever at one with his creator. We are either bringing forth this man-child caught up unto God or we are not hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The children of God break the tradition of compliance to the law of opposites. They witness the proof that Jesus long foretold: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev 21:4). For the children of God, war is forgotten.
No one will be persecuted for righteousness' sake while he is complicit with evil. To love God supremely is to sever all relationships that entertain error, sense, and self, and to lean upon Mind alone to explain itself. When this moment arrives, hatred of good will attempt to overshadow our emphatic decision to live divine Life. Jesus called this persecution for righteousness' sake, but it is also the mark of having arrived at the open door that no man can shut. It indicates the imminent departure of man from the beast, where we have aligned ourselves with all the power of the universe, and hatred cannot stop our ascension. Isaiah prophesied the pattern that Jesus fulfilled: "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities" (Isa 53:11). Christ reassures us that "because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev 3:10).
Go, stand upon the Mount, receive the Word, and confirm the beatific presence with your radiant virtue and indefatigable healing practice. Christ has come to where you are, has taken you by the hand, and has lifted you up. "Rejoyce, and be exceeding glad."
George Denninger ©
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