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The style of the Beatitudes

Monday, 21 January 2019



(by: L'Osservatore Romano, weekly edition, n.4, 25/01/2019)

Aided by hypocrisy, we can believe we are behaving as good Catholics because we recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed, and yet be “un-Christian” in our lives, the Holy Father observed in his homily for Mass on Monday, 21 January. In order to recite these Christian prayers in a truly heartfelt manner and to avoid an “accusatory, worldly and egotistical” lifestyle, we must adopt the “style of the Beatitudes”.

In the day’s passage from the Gospel according to Mark (2:18-22), John’s disciples and the Pharisees are fasting while Jesus and his Apostles are not; and the people are scandalized. Asked to explain, Jesus responds by saying “something a bit confusing, something new: there is the bridegroom, there is a feast, there is a new joy; at this time we must be joyful about this news ... days will later come in which we will all have to fast, when the bridegroom will be taken away”. The key to understanding this confusing passage is the phrase, “new wine is for fresh skins” (2:22). In other words, preaching Jesus’ Gospel, “a new wine”, “demands of us a new way of behaviour, a new style”, the Pope explained.

In order to understand the Christian style, Francis said, we must “understand our ‘un-Christian’ attitudes”, and identified three in particular: “the accusatory style, the worldly style and the egotistical style”. The accusatory style, which is the style of the devil “is the style of those believers who always try to accuse others; they live by accusing”. The worldly style, which “ruins many people”, enters “this spirit of vanity, arrogance, of showing off; there is no humility”, which is a fundamental part of the “Christian style”. In the egotistical style, one focuses on oneself and “is not concerned with the problems of others”, feeling only indifference.

However, “the Christian style”, Pope Francis continued, “is that of the Beatitudes: meekness, humility, patience in suffering, love of justice, ability to withstand persecution, not judging others”. So, he concluded, “read the Beatitudes”, because that “is our style: the Beatitudes are the new wineskins”.

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