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Who Do You Say That I Am? - Part 16

XVI. The second Beatitude regards mourning and comfort. Judas illustrates a kind of mourning that is despair at one’s failures and mistrusts hope and love. Peter by contrast shows us mourning that brings healing, for Christ’s gaze brings both sorrow for his failure but also desire to be renewed and restored to friendship with the Lord. This kind of mourning aligns our deep sorrow with the comfort of God’s mercy.

In a striking phrase, Pope Benedict notes that this kind of mourning over the injustice and sin of the world cannot of itself change the situation, but those who mourn thus “still counter the dominion of evil through the passive resistance of their suffering, through the mourning that sets bounds to the power of evil” (87). In other words, the very sorrow of good people over troubles they cannot correct contributes to the coming of God’s kingdom. That hope and trust is also present in the world along with the evil, so that evil does not wholly reign.

Another dimension of this kind of mourning and comfort is seen in Mary and the other faithful disciples who stand beneath the Cross of Jesus. This is compassion in the literal sense, to suffer with another, to allow the suffering of the world to touch our hearts rather than become indifferent: “Those who do not harden their heats to the pain and need of others, who do not give evil entry to their souls, but suffer under its power and so acknowledge the truth of God – they are the ones who open the windows of the world to let the light in” (87). This is linked to the Eighth Beatitude, about persecution for the sake of righteousness, for those who do not simply accept and conform to the evils of the world become a nuisance, “an accusation directed against the numbing of consciences” (88). The comfort promised comes precisely through the Cross beneath which they stand.

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