Whenever I hear and take in the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount it blesses me. When they are spoken, time stops, heaven opens and I find myself in the presence of the holy, of the Holy One, God, the One full of grace and promise. For there is a strange, hushed otherness about the Beatitudes (from the Latin “beatus,” blessed). The truth is spoken, deeper than I go; my life is opened and my direction given: be this, do that and divine promises are offered of the utmost importance, promises of holiness, of intimacy with God, and possession of the earth. Be and do what God wants, and when you are, God will bless you in ways beyond your vision, but not beyond your farthest and deepest longings.