Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
The Beatitude I want to speak on is the one that speaks of mercy. Or about the merciful.
However, I want to start off with this quote from Matt: 7:1-5
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
I would say the being ‘blind’, “spiritually blind”, is a difficult obstacle to overcome. It is based on the fact that most of the time, I would say, that the default mode of thinking is based on self-centeredness. Which is understandable. Each of us here experiences themselves as being center stage, the rest orbiting around at a distance, some at a great distance. . Some closer, others further away. Again those closest to us may be in that exalted position for many reasons. We simply like them, or they think the way we do, so we feel comfortable around them, and are not challenged. Of course, I am speaking more for myself than for anyone else, so if this shoe does not fit you…..well never-mind.
If this self-centered way of living is not dealt with, if the illusion is not seen for what it is, then life can become quite interesting. People are mirrors that reflect back on us. For we, for the most part, can only weigh in on others by something that is within us as well. What we see and judge in others can lead to rejection, even hatred. Judgment can be weighted out from a safe distance…….the one judging is exempt.
I have fallen into this way of thinking more often than I would like to say, and when I do, any concept of mercy is forgotten. For in order to show mercy, there has to be some depth of self-understanding or self-knowledge. Yes, I am judging myself, just don’t know it.
One way to see this more easily is to take the beatitude “Blessed are the Merciful” and to try to live it, say, for a week, to keep mercy at the forefront of one’s mind. To become mindful, or aware. This will create some deep inner tension for some, for others, it may lead to a great deal of conflict. To decide to live out a beatitude forces self-knowledge to develop.
As people are encountered, we may become aware of how often we do make judgments about those in our lives, that in reality say more about us than about them.
When Jesus talks about taking out the log in one’s eye, he is talking about finding a new way to experience life, to change one’s vision, to go deeper in, and see how we all are in need of mercy. So, yes, we are called upon to understand our own need of mercy, a gift that God bestows on us because he can truly see who we are, without any obstacles.
If we do not have the humility to deepen our self-knowledge, then the darkness will grow, and we will find ourselves at odds with more people. We need others to carry our own dark shadow so that we do not have to deal with it.
When we truly become merciful, we no longer have the luxury to label, judge, and lessen, or even destroy the humanity of another (in our own mind) so that we do not have to deal with their raw humanity. Being merciful towards others, in actuality, leads us to face our own need for mercy and healing. We no longer need to judge or to gossip about others so that we come out looking good. We slowly become aware of our own deep unconscious, and from that, from the struggle that flows from that experience, leads to understanding and compassion for our brothers and sisters.
Jesus was merciful because he truly ‘saw’ those around him. They did not need to carry anything for him, he saw truly. We are called to see truly as well and in that, we find healing for ourselves, as well as for those we come in contact with and even more deeply, with our family and friends.
To allow our own hearts and souls to be healed so that we can live out the beatitudes in our lives, will truly make us the salt of the earth. It is a struggle, this death to self, with many failures, but when we fail, it only deepens our self-knowledge and our understanding of our need for mercy, which allows us to pass it on.—Br.MD