Sunday, January 30, 2011

John Tauler (c.1300-1361), Dominican at Strasbourg
Sermon 71, for the Feast of All Saints
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted"

«When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain... he began to teach them, saying...» The mountain that Jesus climbed was his own happiness and essence in which he is one with his Father. He was followed by a great crowd, which is the crowd of saints whose feast we celebrate today. All of them followed him according to the vocation to which God called them. We are to imitate them in this, each of us paying attention to our own vocation before all else so as to be certain of that to which God calls us and thus following his call...

When he was on the mountain, Jesus opened his mouth to teach the eight beatitudes... «Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.» In the first place comes the question of the virtue of spiritual poverty since this is the beginning and foundation of all perfection. Consider the question from all sides and it is always a matter of man's deepest self being stripped, detached, free, poor and released from every kind of self-interest if God is truly to accomplish his work within it. It must be set free from every kind of attachment for only then will God find himself at home there...

«Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land» for all eternity. Here we take another step forward since if, by means of genuine poverty we are set free from hindrances, with meekness we advance further into the very depths, casting out all bitterness, irritation and imprudence... For the meek nothing is bitter, as for those who are good everything for them is likewise good: all this comes from the goodness and purity of their innermost self... The meek inherit the land by remaining peaceful whatever happens. But if you don't behave like this then you will lose both virtue and peace at the same time and it might be said of you that you are a grumbler and to be compared to a barking dog.

«Blessed are they who mourn...» Who are these people who mourn? In a certain sense they are people who suffer, but in another sense they are those who mourn their sins. But God's worthy friends, who in every respect are the happiest of all, no longer mourn their sins... even though they are not without tears: they mourn the sins and faults of their neighbor... Thus it is that the true friends of God mourn because of the blindness and wretchedness of the sins of the world.

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