The Perplexing Beatitude

This is of value in our sorrow for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

God does nothing without cause and truth. But, believe me, a person cannot completely grasp the meaning of God’s locutions and deeds, nor can he determine this by appearances without extreme error and bewilderment. Since the duration of these causes is uncertain, the fulfillment of the promise is too. One should seek assurance, therefore, not in understanding but in faith.

    Saint John of the Cross, written 1585

 The Perplexing Beatitude 

Aaron Weiss, the popular mod singer, composer and head of the MeWithoutYou Band, has it tattooed on his wrist.  I have read many writing which were unsuccessful in convincing me of its meaning.  Then the light finally came by something said by a man who is in no way a theologian.


In the Southern town where I grew up, when you spoke of someone who was greatly distressed and burden down with worries, you would say, “Poor soul, he sure is poor in spirit.”  And when you asked this person how he was feeling, he might say, “Mighty poorly.”

          For that reason, I have long been disturbed by the first of Jesus’ beatitudes, when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  It didn’t make sense to consider yourself blessed if you were a mealy-mouth person, all down and out. 

          One evening when Donald Trump had again hit the skids and was head-over-head in debt, he and his current wife were walking down a street in New York.  When they passed a street person with his hand out, Trump said in truth, “See that fellow? He is richer than I.”


     Since that moment of revelation, I have accepted “poor in spirit” as meaning one who acknowledges the tremendous debt he owes to the Supreme Being who continuously allows the debt to increase each day. God is like a banker, who out of compassion rather than good business sense, keeps extended one’s line of credit. He knows that only in a minute way can the creditor repay what he has been given freely.


     The value of something is what you would let it go for. So, the gift of my eyes, ears and other senses would have a price tag of over a million. Each family member and friend would each be worth a staggering sum. In appreciation, if I valued $1 for each bodily cell which performs so perfectly, I’d add a billion to my debt.  For example, how could I establish a value for my Catholicism?  My life would have less meaning if I were ignorant of the fact that God became Man with of His message of love. When I put a total price tag on God’s gifts to me, the 000s go out the window. 


     May I tattoo on my memory slate each morning, “Please bless me, one of the poorest of the poor!”

(And give me your thoughts about this Beatitude,


Interesting sayings

 In order to desire to be saved, we must know we are lost.

          Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel   1958


Surprising God, keep my mind and heart open to the unexpected ways you manifest in my life.         

          Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.


(And what are a few of your favorite sayings?)





News flashes

–        In the 2/5 Wall Street Journal, Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote an interesting article, jabbing sports reporters for not giving attention to the faith of the sports champion about whom they write. Her examples included Tim Tebow, Kurt Warner, and Joe Gibbs.


         In the February issue of U.S. Catholic, Phyllis Zagano wrote “The case for Deacon Pam” encouraging us having women deacons.  I’ve got bad news for you, Phyllis, because I don’t think the first woman deacon has yet been born. Last month with pressure from the Vatican, Bishop Joseph Grech (not “Grench”!) in Australia stopped a parish church from lending its facility to an Anglican church that is under repair. The reason—the fellow Christians were going to have an ordination service for seven deacons, four of them women. The Bishop said that the ordination of women would be a potential source of confusion and conflict. (What do you think about this.


–   A good economical sign! The editorial board of America magazine selected Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury for its 2009 Campaign Award Recipient. “Gifted with a creative mind and poetic spirit, Archbishop Williams writes eloquently about many things: theology, prayer, church history, icons, religion and literature. His body of work nourishes the mind and the spirit.”


Joyful experiences

  –   With the snow storms of the century in the Washington, DC, area, the community has responded with admirable help and compassion for those in need. Everyone with whom I have talked has an account of being either the benefactor or recipient of sincere caring.  It’s interesting that it sometimes takes a catastrophe to bring out the best in us. But, it’s there!

(And what joyful experience do you want to share?)  


 Examples from martyrs

As a young man who’s wife was expecting their second child, Blessed Luis Magana Servin told the Mexican judge during the anti-Catholic persecution, ”If you accuse me of being a Christian, yes, I am, and if I must be executed for that reason, I welcome it.”

          The next day, February 14, 1928, when he was being shot in the vestibule of his parish church, he told his executioners, “I want to tell you that from this moment I pardon you, and I promise that on arrival in the presence of God you are the first ones for whom I will intercede.”    Wow! 



The first to send the right answers to will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.


1.     What is the least Catholic area of the United States?


2.     In the Bible, what were the last words spoken by Mary?


3.     What are the seven sacraments of the Church?


Recommended reading:


 Conversing with God in Lent by Stephen J. Binz


Communiqués received

 Many thanks for telling about your Prayer Group. I intend to give it a try with four of my friends.

                                                Rebecca Robbins, Birmingham, AL


 I find it hard to believe that you fellows in your Prayer Group have been meeting so long. I discussed this with my priest who wants to start a group in our parish, using your guidelines.

                                                          Erick Tims, Erie, NY


(Let me hear from you via


Other recommended Catholic Blogs

         www. (daily news from the Vatican

        Rumor has it that after seeing the wide approval of our Joyful Catholic blog, the Pope is encouraging priest to start their own blogs in order to communicate better with their congregations. I am glad the Pope didn’t ask me to relinquish the title of this blog. If he had, since he is younger than I, I would have given in.


Chuckle time

 (Via Bob Kehlhofer in Atlantis, FL

If you also have a favorite chuckler, send it to me.


A nun in a Catholic hospital was quizzing a penniless man without insurance about who would pay his bill and she asked if there were concerned relatives. When he said he had only a spinster sister who was a nun, the inquiring nun shot back, “A nun is not a spinster, because she is married to God!’

          The old man said, “Well then, send the bill to my brother-in-law.”



My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

The fifth grade students in the school at St. Anthony’s Parish in Columbus, NE, recommended Father Del Lape by listing 14 (!) things they like about him. A few of these are:

“Father Del is a great priest and teacher, a person who tries to teach about God and has a fun time when he’s doing it/ he eats lunch with the kids and makes them laugh/ he is trustful and kind/ he is the best preacher ever/ he is always ready to hear our thoughts. Father Del, you are terrific and the best priest ever!”

And let me know about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.  Share this with our many Joyful Catholic members.


Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky,

 Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb,

Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards, Mary Darwish, Msg. Louis Quinn, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein.

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been added to our Deo Gratias list.


One thought on “The Perplexing Beatitude

  1. Pingback: God Became Man

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