As I was exploring resources from my formation program, I found a real treasure I wanted to share with you. It is both Aramaic (A), the language most historians believe the historical Jesus spoke and Greek (G) translations of the Beatitudes. I find them rich and deep, especially for the challenges we are facing in the present. The authors are Neil Douglas-Klotz from his book Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus, Harper, 1990 and the Greek translation is from William Barclay, Matthew, Westminster, 1975. I invite you to take your time, reflect and perhaps pray with and/or journal your responses to what resonates with you. Here we go:
1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
A – Blessedly ripe are those realizing that breath is their first & last possession, theirs is the One’s, “I can!”
G – Blessed is the one who is conscious of a desperate need and who is utterly certain that in God, and in God alone, that need can be supplied.
2. “Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”
A – Blessed are those in emotional turmoil; they shall be united inside by love
G – Blessed is the heart broken for the world’s suffering & for its own sin for out of sorrow is found the joy of God.
3. “Blessed are the meek, they shall inherit the earth.”
A – Blessed are those who have softened what is rigid within; they receive God’s strength everywhere.
G – O the bliss of the one who is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time, who has every instinct and impulse and passion under control because he is God controlled, who has the humility to realize his own ignorance and his own weakness, for such a man is a king among men.
4. “Blessed are they who hunger & thirst for what is right; they shall be satisfied.”
A – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice- righteousness; they have the power to birth a new society.
G – O the bliss of the one who longs for total righteousness as a starving person longs for food, and a person perishing of thirst longs for water; for that one will be truly satisfied.
5. “Blessed are the merciful; they shall have mercy shown to them.”
A – Blessed are those who, from their inner wombs, birth mercy; they shall feel its warm arms embrace them.
G – Blessed the one who gets right inside other people, seeing with their eyes, thinking their thoughts, and feeling with their feelings. For that one will find others do the same for him and will know that is what God in Jesus Christ has done.
6. “Blessed are the pure of heart; they shall see God.”
A – Aligned with the One are those whose lives radiate from a core of love; they shall see God everywhere
G – O the bliss of the one whose motives are absolutely pure, for that One will some day be able to see God.
7. “Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God.”
A – Blessed are those who plant peace each season; they shall be named the children of God.
G – O the bliss of those who produce right relationships, for they are doing a God like work.
8. “Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of right; theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account…. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
A – Blessings to those who are dislocated in the cause of justice; their new home is the province of the universe. Renewal is yours when you are reproached and driven away by the clamor of evil on all sides for my sake. Then, do everything extreme, including letting your ego disappear as did the prophets, for this is the secret of claiming our expanded home in the universe.
G – O the bliss of those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, because the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Yours is the bliss when they heap their insults on you and persecute you and say in their lies all kinds of evil things against you for my sake. Your reward will be great in heaven; for that is the way in which they persecuted the prophets which were before you.
What resonates with you? What is it like to imagine Jesus speaking to you in his Aramaic language? Is what you have thought the Beatitudes mean the same or different when read in Aramaic of Greek? Let your awareness be open.
We are God’s beloved, we are loved right where we are without a need to earn God’s love, and we are blessed in many ways. Being blessed, we have God’s love and guidance to truly experience that love. Peace and blessings on your journey…