by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
The beatitudes, as Jesus stated them in the Bible, were considered a promise of hope for the people of the time. The term “beati” translates to “happy,” “rich,” or “blessed.” As he stood and delivered what came to be known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not speaking to the rich and powerful but to the poor and disenfranchised who hungered for a message of release and healing from their oppression. His message was not a focus on the outer world for salvation but a focus on the inner truth that would release their minds and hearts.
There is debate over how many beatitudes Jesus offered since the gospels of Mathew and Luke differ. But, generally, there are considered to be eight simple statements that give hope, such as: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled; Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God; Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
In our lives today, we often hunger for that same hope and healing. Our world is filled with injustice, attack, violence, sickness, and pain; these are the same concerns the followers of Jesus had. And yet to his followers, then and now, Jesus is saying the same thing: we are blessed. Not because we may feel we are suffering but because His Help has never left our side. This awareness is our way out of suffering. We need to recognize that we are blessed and be glad, for we are not alone and have a mighty purpose to fulfill.
A Course in Miracles is a powerful how-to path for us to awaken to the Help that is ever available and follow its prescription for our healing. As I reviewed the Course’s Workbook lesson 123, “I thank my Father for His gifts to me,” I realized it actually encompasses A Course in Miracles’ very own beatitudes. Here is how this lesson’s eight “beatitudes” are stated, with additional commentary to allow you to feel their power and help in your life right now.
“Beatitudes” from A Course in Miracles
1. “Be glad today, […] your Father has not left you to yourself […] He has not abandoned you […] nor let you wander in the dark alone.”
We have not been left to our own demise. We are not lost forever in our distorted thinking, for God has never left our side, no matter how lost we may feel or how fearful the world may seem. “If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.” (T-18.III.3:2)
2. “Be [glad] He has saved you from the self you thought you made to take the place of Him and His creation.”
He has saved us from our unworthy thoughts, for nothing can change the truth of Who we are. “You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part in it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return.” (T-9.VIII.10)
3. “[Be glad] His Love forever will remain shining on you, forever without change.”
As we are told in the Course, love is all encompassing. In reality there can be no opposite to what is all, but the impossible has been inserted into our thinking and fear appears to be love’s opposite. Fear (thoughts of anger, attack, judgment, depression, etc.) can have no power in truth. In the mind which has lost its way, His Love remains. Even when we feel alone, this eternal flame of love can never be extinguished. “Nothing you can do can change Eternal Love.” (M-C-5.6:10)
4. “[Be glad] that you are changeless, for the Son He loves is changeless as Himself.”
Love will remain our essence even when we wander into fear, because what is changeless (our eternal Self) cannot be mocked. “Learn, then, the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words: I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.” (T-31.VIII.5)
5. “Be [glad] you are saved.”
We are saved and that is something for which we should be glad. It is not sometime in the future that we will find this awareness, but in every holy encounter with another. “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. (T-8.III.4)
6. “Be glad you have a function in salvation to fulfill.”
If every encounter with another is a holy encounter (which can occur in person or simply in thought), this gives us an opportunity to find salvation now. It also provides us great purpose: to arise in glory every morning because we do have a function to fulfill here and now! “I will arise in glory, and allow the light in me to shine upon the world throughout the day.” (W-237.1:2)
7. “Be [glad] that your value far transcends your meager gifts and petty judgments of the one whom God established as His Son.”
Our value is not determined by what we have or have not accomplished in the world; our value is determined by God, Who sees us all as His beloved Child in Whom He is well pleased. It is time we move past the negative self-talk that fills our minds and realize all of us (yes, even YOU) have a mighty purpose. “True humility requires that you accept [that you are the light of the world] because it is God’s Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.” (W-61.3.1)
8. “[Be glad] that in our solitude a Friend has come to speak the saving Word of God to us.”
We are here to light this world with miracles by seeing every encounter (or attitude we hold about ourselves) as an opportunity to extend love. We are here to see only the extensions of love or the calls for love. To help us translate this truth (in thought and action) into the world, we have been given a Friend (the Voice for God). It is now time we recognize the fact that we are not alone; we have the Help we need. But, “His word is soundless if [we do not hear it.]”
Let us take these eight thoughts from the Course’s lesson 123 and consider them our new beatitudes. May we together realize the gifts we have been given and the Help that is ever available. And, when we feel lost and alone, let us remember, “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.” (T-17.VII.4:1) Therefore, let us give by “becom[ing] the messenger who brings [God’s] Voice with [us], and lets It echo round and round the world.”
We have a mighty purpose in salvation, and we have everything we need to fulfill our healing and awakening right now. Now that is something to definitely be grateful for during this season of gratitude.
Above quotations from A Course in Miracles lesson 123 unless otherwise indicated.