A new vista
With this Beatitude we are turning a corner. The previous Beatitudes deal with the attributes peculiar to us as human beings who aspire to Christhood. But beginning with this Beatitude, we are challenged to take up the attributes of God Himself. This is quite reasonable, considering that in the same sermon in which He gave the Beatitudes, the Lord Jesus said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
The meaning of mercy
“Blessed are the merciful.” What does it mean to be merciful? Eleimon means to have real compassion, to actually feel and suffer with another person, to be intensely aware of another’s pain, and to feel a yearning for their healing. This is the nature of real mercy which is rooted in divine love resulting from the experiential consciousness of the unity of all existence as the manifest Being of God Who is love. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).
Receiving to give
“For they shall obtain mercy.” This divine mercy is not a mere feeling sorry for those who are suffering (or who are too unaware of their actual condition to experience suffering). Nor is it only a feeling or a caring. Rather, eleithesontai has a dual meaning: to receive mercy and to give mercy. This is the clue to realization of this Beatitude. First we must receive the mercy of God in its plenitude–which is something far more than getting a little temporal health, wealth, or happiness from the divine treasury.
To receive mercy is to be fully restored into the divine image, to be consciously reassumed into the Life that is God–and then, as god with God, to be able to impart the same healing and restoration to others, or at least to awaken them to the possibility of their healing and direct them to the Source of healing.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). This will be the experience of those who embody this Beatitude.
The two follies
There are two great follies in spiritual life. The first is to believe that continual, external involvement with others on either the intellectual or material plane is being “spiritual.” The second is to become completely self-centered and self-absorbed, turning in on oneself and ignoring–or even denying–the reality of anyone else. This Beatitude shows the correct sequence in spiritual life. We must first attend to our own healing before we can impart healing to others.
Read the next article in Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Chapters in the Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes:
- The Basis of the Ten Commandments
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness.
- Thou shalt not covet.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after 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 the children of God.
- Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.