beatitudes, blessing, God, purity, Twelve Days of Christmas

Beatitude: A Statement of Utmost Bliss

On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me,
eight statements of utmost bliss.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3-10 NKJV)

A Beatitude is a formula phrase, well-known from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It starts with “Blessed are,” and this phrase can be found throughout Scripture. Look for it in the Psalms, Proverbs and even Revelation.

In literary terms, a beatitude can be defined as an aphorism. An aphorism is a concise, memorable statement of truth. It is a pronouncement of blessing, more than a wish for blessing; it’s a desired quality of life. (paraphrased from Delight of Words by Leland Ryken)

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word, “barak” is translated “to bless.” In Mounce’s Expository Dictionary, he explains the outcome of God’s blessing:

“When God blesses, it is not an impotent wish but the empowering and transforming word that accomplishes its purpose. To pronounce a blessing carries a sense of inevitability such that, once it has been uttered, it cannot be retracted.”

He compares a human blessing upon others not as “magical, but as a prayer offered to a sovereign God.” (Mounce)

As I enter the new year, I challenged myself to choose one beatitude and ask God to transform me into its truth. I chose with much trepidation and expectation:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

I believe God fulfills the desires and aspirations of our prayers, but I also know that purity comes through refining fire.

God, be with me, as I enter Your intentions for 2013. Amen!