Blessed are They that Mourn
Presence of God – Grant, O Lord, that I may shed only such tears as are pleasing to You and that will help me to grow in Your love.
The Beatitude: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:5), corresponds to the gift of knowledge. Blessed are they who, thoroughly enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to the nothingness of creatures, weep for the time they have spent seeking them, and mourn over the energy and affection they have wasted on the vanities of the world. These are the burning tears of St. Augustine who, in his Confessions, continually laments:
“Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved Thee…. Thou wert with me, but I was not with Thee; creatures kept me far from Thee.”
These are the tears of the penitent Magdalen, and of St. Peter weeping over his fall; blessed tears, cleansing souls from sin and disposing them for friendship with God. These are the tears of souls determined to seek God in preference to all creatures, but who still, because of their frailty, have to reproach themselves daily for some weakness, some slight return to futile earthly satisfactions. The gift of knowledge does not permit us to close our eyes to our infidelities, however slight, but it makes us hate them and weep for them with tears of compunction. One who lives under the influence of this gift will never be careless or superficial in his examinations of conscience; his confessions, though peaceful, will always be sorrowful and accompanied by true contrition. Such were the confessions of the saints, who with the most lively sorrow accused themselves of their slightest imperfections.
The Holy Spirit does not want us to be scrupulous, but He does want us to be very delicate in our fidelity to God. He is not satisfied that we despise the vanities of the world in general, but He wants us to despise them in their most subtle manifestations, such as slight retaliations of self-love, little self-complacencies, or concern for the affection and esteem of others. Blessed the soul who knows how to recognize all its miseries and weep for them, not with tears of discouragement or anxiety, but with tears of profound sorrow, which instead of contracting its heart in fear, will dilate it in repentant love, and cast it into God’s arms, with a heart renewed by love and sorrow.
“O Lord, the peace You give us in this world is full of anxieties, tribulations, and persecutions; but then You bring us to a quiet, tranquil peace. I can even say that in the midst of these difficulties You give us Your peace, because the Spirit attests in this way that we are Your children. This means, ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Not only will You comfort us in the future, but You turn our very tears into consolation, and war itself into peace. He who loves You, O Lord, finds in the most burning fire of tribulation the cool breeze and the dew of heavenly consolation” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
“Blessed are You, O my God, because You have not demanded from us as the price of Your kingdom, a long period of suffering, but a very brief one, as brief as life, a moment compared with an eternity of happiness! Truly, if for love of You, we had to endure for hundreds of thousands of years, sufferings a thousand times harder, more painful and severe, we should have accepted Your decree with immense joy and longing, and thanked You on our knees with our hands joined. How much more then, should we thank You now that, in Your mercy, You have deigned to give us the shortest time possible of suffering, a time as short as life! Short as an instant, as nothing, because life is nothing compared with eternity.
“Come then, come, O children of God; let us hasten to the Cross of Christ, to sorrow, contempt, and poverty! Grant, O Lord, that I may love You as You have loved me, with that absolute fidelity, purity, and love which reserves nothing for self, which gives itself wholly and therefore runs to pain and suffering, seeing and feeling in all things nothing but love” (St. Angela of Foligno).
Note from Dan: This post on the blessedness of those that mourn is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on the blessedness of those that mourn: Ecstacy of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, attributed to Alessandro Rosi, circa 1670, PD-US author’s term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.