Pastoral, inspiring, fruitfully beautiful. These are just a few of the words participants used to describe Fr. Jacques Philippe’s reflections on the Beatitudes. The event, Eight Doors to the Kingdom, was hosted by the Order of Malta Boston Area and took place over Zoom in September.
Fr. Philippe is an international retreat leader and a member of the Community of the Beatitudes in Paris, France. He is the author of 11 books, including The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes.
During the event, Fr. Philippe described the Beatitudes as a promise from Jesus of blessing and happiness. While he reflected upon all eight Beatitudes, he paid particular attention to one and five.
Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit, for Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Referencing how the Psalms describe the poor, Fr. Philippe spoke of people living in difficult situations. They might be experiencing physical poverty or perhaps loneliness, persecution, or illness. “Because of this difficult situation, he’s obliged to cry out to God,” he said.
Participant Shateara Hall, AUX, said what resonated most with her was the idea that all the other Beatitudes are captured in and through the first. “I was challenged when he reminded us that to possess this Beatitude is to depend solely on God for everything; to surrender our entire lives and desire to please Him; and to relinquish control of others and our independence, trusting in the Lord’s goodness with everything life brings us.”
Blessed Are The Merciful, for They Will Be Shown Mercy.
Speaking of the fifth Beatitude, Fr. Philippe said, “The blessed is the one who looks upon his neighbor with kindness, tenderness, and pity as God himself does.” He noted that the fifth Beatitude is an important topic for members and friends of the Order of Malta. He reminded all that God will fill persons attentive to the needs of their brothers and sisters with His abundant and overflowing love.
“It really did change the course of my day and gave me much to pray and think about,” said participant Mary Jo Kriz, DM. “Jesus lived all the Beatitudes on the cross. The Beatitude I will focus on is: Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”
Nancy Gibson, Co-Chair of the Boston Area, said the presentation was an invitation to do more, and that the book, The Eight Doors of the Kingdom, “invites us to be able to dwell more richly on those teachings that will help us live better lives, be better men and women, better Christians, better Catholics.”
The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes is published by Scepter, Catholic Books for Spiritual Growth. For more information, visit frjacquesphilippe.com.