The Beatitudes

1 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
3 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
4 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
5 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
7 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
8 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men 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. Matthew 5:3-12

“Received” or Not, the Beatitudes Point Us to Holiness

Father Jeffrey Kirby, Sunday, June 8, 2018

Beauty is the perfection of order and symmetry, and as such is a primary source of holiness. This basic truth can be seen by any Christian believer or any person of good will. And yet, such a claim is regarded as peculiar in contemporary Western societies because of something Saint Paul unmasked, namely, the “great exchange” of divine glory for the fallen things of this world. (cf. Romans 1:18-24)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

In its current Western form, this great exchange abandons religion for self-help practices, the objective realities of life for subjective preferences, faith-and-reason for an absolutized reason without conditions, male/female complementarity for sexual disorder. And – sadly – the compromises of the great exchange continue into a rapid downward spiral of confusion and misery.

In such societies, people are fragmented, institutions of belonging are redefined, and essential sources of identity are clouded. This leads to widespread social ills, from an epidemic in pornography, widespread opioid abuse, to an increase in suicide rates.

But weren’t we made for something greater that makes beauty and holiness possible in our souls and in society?

It was to answer such questions that Jesus Christ entered human history. By his life and teachings, culminating in his Paschal Mystery, the Lord points us to a more excellent way. He presents this way of life in what the Christian tradition has come to call “the Beatitudes.” The Lord gives the Beatitudes as an interior autobiography of his own heart. He offers them as a remedy to our ills, and as a path toward internal harmony and social tranquility.

The eight Beatitudes reflect the symmetry of beauty and are, therefore, a sure path to peace and holiness. Rather than a random collection of platitudes, the Beatitudes hold an inner logic and offer us a path to harmony.

It is no surprise that only the first and eighth Beatitude refer to the “kingdom.” The two are seen to form bookends. The first Beatitude calls for a “poverty of spirit,” which is a radical existential declaration of a true need for God. This is the beginning of wisdom, tranquility, and happiness. The eighth Beatitude, by contrast, is a commission to accept persecution for the sake of righteousness.

In between, however, lies the hard work for holiness. As the first Beatitude leads us to an assertion of our need for God, so the second one calls us to a sorrow and repentance for our sins and the evil of the world. This grieving compels us to the meekness of the third Beatitude. The meekness here is not passivity, but an authentic desire to know our place in the world, to discern our vocation, given by God, and to live accordingly.

The movement of the first three Beatitudes – from our need for God, our sorrow over evil, and our drive to know our place – reaches a culmination in the fourth Beatitude, which urges on us hunger and thirst for righteousness. Knowing ourselves better, we now want to be excellent, virtuous, and holy. This hunger and thirst doubles down and re-directs our attention.

The focus shifts, therefore, in the fifth Beatitude. We now look to our neighbor and are moved to mercy. From this state of compassion, we are guided into the “purity of heart” of the sixth Beatitude. Such a summons to purity helps us to see God’s Providence, to see what others cannot, namely, healing in brokenness, goodness in the midst of evil, and the power of light over darkness.

This enables us to be the “peacemakers” of the seventh Beatitude and to desire a tranquility of order in our own lives and in the world around, which makes us strong enough and ready to accept and live the commission of the eighth Beatitude.

This simple walk through the Beatitudes reveals to us the beauty of holiness, but also its challenges.

In our culture, there are Jesuitical attempts to discredit moral truth about marriage, family, and sexuality. By classifying certain moral truths, such as sodomy or contraception, as not having been “received” by the People of God (since a majority of believers may not consent to them), such teachings are argued to have not, therefore, really been given by the Holy Spirit.

But we could say the same about the very Beatitudes given to us by Jesus. Many have tried to live up to them, but then quit because they appeared to be too hard or not rewarding enough. Some only pay the Beatitudes lip service, others try to redefine them, while still others completely reject them.

It might even be argued that a majority of believers do not assent to the full life of the Beatitudes. And yet, could we claim that they have not been “received” and therefore are not from God? And even if they’re not “received,” can they be let go?

Of course not. The Beatitudes are here to stay, as is all moral truth. And any such argument is an abuse of the sensus fidelium, which does not mean “what’s everybody doing,” but is the actual living out of the Church’s declared faith by the People of God. That way of viewing things does not reflect the demands of discipleship born from truth and beauty, but rather manifests a rationalization of the tenets of revealed religion. The argument is an intellectual appeasement of this world and a shameful display of the “great exchange” denounced by Saint Paul.

And so, whether “received” or not, the Beatitudes, and the entire body of moral truth, offer the human family another way, a more excellent way, of love. It’s a way that is difficult and marked by toil and struggles. It’s rejected by many. But it’s one that leads to true peace. And the hearts that receive it – and labor to live it – find holiness and the joy of life in God. And they’re the ones whose righteousness ends up converting and changing the world.

St. Nicholas Hymn (en francais)


This popular French song, the Légende de Saint Nicolas, dates back to the 16th century and is still sung by French children today. It tells the rather gruesome story of St. Nicholas rescuing three children from an evil butcher. The story, which was originally of three young men—traveling scholars, is told in France of three young children (see illustrations from 1935). Here on this page, they are shown as older children by 19th century artist E. de Liphart. Music and an English text, freely translated by poet James Henry Dixon, follow the original French.

E. de Liphart, illustrator
Maison Quantin, Paris ca 1880
St Nicholas Center Collection
Children approach butcher's

They came to the butcher’s one evening  

St Nicolas at table

Butcher, butcher, do not flee. 
Rise up, children

Then the Saint extended his fingers 
Music to traditional French song
Click for printable PDF

Saint NICOLAS (La Légende de Saint Nicolas)

    Ils étaient trois petits enfants
    Qui s’en allaient glaner aux champs—
    S’en vinr’nt un soir chez un boucher:
    ”Boucher, voudrais-tu nous coucher?”—
    Entrez, entrez, petits enfants,
    Il y’a d’la place assurément! . . .

Ils n’étaient pas sitôt entrés
Que le boucher les a tués,
Les a coupés en p’tits morceaux,
Mis au saloir comme pourceaux.

    Ils étaient, etc.

Saint Nicolas, au bout d’sept ans,
Vint à passer dedans ce champ,
Alla frapper chez le boucher:
“Boucher, voudrais-tu me loger?”

    Ils étaient, etc.

— Entrez, entrez, saint Nicolas,
Il y’a d’la place, il n’en manq’pas.”
Il n’était pas sitôt entré
Qu’il a demandé à souper.

    Ils étaient, etc.

“Du p’tit salé je veux avoir
Qu’il y a sept ans qu’est dans l’saloir.”
Quand le boucher entendit ça,
Hors de la porte il s’enfuya.

    Ils étaient, etc.

“Boucher, boucher, ne t’enfuis pas;
Repens-toi, Dieu t’pardonnera.”
Saint Nicolas alla s’asseoir
Dessus le bord de ce saloir.

    Ils étaient, etc.

“Petits enfants qui dormez là,
Je suis le grand saint Nicolas.”
Et le saint étendit trois doigts.
Les p’tits se lèvent tous les trois.

    Ils étaient, etc.

The Legend of Saint Nicholas
freely translated from the French

Three little children sought the plain
Gleaners of the golden grain.
They lingered past the angel-song,
And dewy shadows swept along.

‘Mid the silence of the wood
The butcher’s lonely cottage stood,
“Butcher! lodge us for the night,
Lodge us till the morning light.”
“Enter in, ye children small,
I can find a place for all.”

The butcher seized a knife straitway,
And did the little creatures slay.
He put them in a tub of brine,
In pieces small as they were swine.

St. Nicholas, at seven years end,
His way did to the forest wend.
He sought the butcher’s cottage drear:
“Butcher! I would rest me here!”

“Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
You are welcome, St. Nicholas!
Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
There’s place for you the night to pass.”
Scarce had the Saint his entrance made,
He would the supper board was laid.

“Will you have of ham a slice?”
“I will not, for it is not nice!”
“Of this veal you’ll take a bit?”
“No! I do not relish it.”

“Give me of the little swine,
For seven long years have laid in brine!”
The butcher caught the words he said,
And forthwith from the portal fled.

“Butcher! butcher! do not flee,
Repent and God will pardon thee!”

St. Nicholas the tub drew near,
And lo! he placed three fingers there.
The first one said, “I sweetly rest!”
The second said, “I too am blest!”
The third replied, “Tis well with me,
In Paradise I seem to be!”

Freely translated from the French by English poet James Henry Dixon (1803–1876), Centro Studi Nicolaiani, Bari, Itlay, 1983. Used by permission.

A 17th century version of this song

Credo – I Believe

I believe that our Blessed Lady has a special intention for the Credo. Under her influence I always treat it as more than a kind of public profession. It is primarily a prayer because Faith is a theological virtue. “I belief Lord. Help me in my unbelief.” I think it would be better for it to be sung on the special occasions of re-dedication. The English Credo is the Mother’s Milk of sung prayers; babies can sing it. (Latin would be wonderful, but be all things to all people.) Accordingly, I have moved English to the top.

Half a cannabis cigarette causes quasi-psychotic effects like schizophrenia in healthy people

3 December 2015

  • Active ingredient in cannabis delta-9-THC is linked to psychosis effects
  • Scientists do not fully understand mechanisms that cause these effects
  • Yale team found delta-9-THC increases random neural activity, or noise
  • Believe increased neural noise plays role in psychosis triggered by drug
  • Experts say effects are similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia

Smoking cannabis can induce psychosis-like effects, similar to the symptoms people diagnosed with schizophrenia endure, scientists have said.
While past research as come this this conclusion in the past, the mechanisms underlying these effects are less clear.

Now, a team of scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found the active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) increases random neural activity, known as neural noise, in the brains of healthy drug-users.

Their findings suggest increased neural noise may play a role in the psychosis-like effects of cannabis.
Dr Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale, said: ‘At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, delta-9-THC produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans.’
First author of the study, Dr Jose Cortes-Briones, a postdoctoral associate in psychiatry at Yale, added: ‘The dose-dependent and strong positive relationship between these two findings suggest that the psychosis-like effects of cannabis may be related to neural noise which disrupts the brain’s normal information processing.’

Researchers studied the effects of delta-9-THC on electrical brain activity in 24 human subjects, who took part in a three-day study.

During the experiments, they received two doses of intravenous delta-9-THC or a placebo in a double-blind, randomised, cross-over and counterbalanced design.

If confirmed, the link between neural noise and psychosis could shed light on the biology of some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

Dr John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, the journal in which the study is published, said the research marks an important part of the debate over whether cannabis should be legalised.
He said: ‘This interesting study suggests a commonality between the effects on the brain of the major active ingredient in marijuana and symptoms of schizophrenia.

‘The impairment of cortical function by delta-9-THC could underlie some of the cognitive effects of marijuana.

‘Not only does this finding aid our understanding of the processes underlying psychosis, it underscores an important concern in the debate surrounding medical and legalised access to marijuana.’

High-Potency Marijuana Could Cause Brain Damage, Psychosis

Coloradoan's Celebrate 4/20 With Marijuana Smokeout

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – A new study on marijuana use warns the highly-potent strains of the drug available on the market today could cause brain damage or even lead to psychosis.

British researchers studied the brains of heavy marijuana users in South London.

“If you look at the corpus callosum, what we’re seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug,” study co-author Paola Dazzan told The Guardian.

White matter in the brain transmits signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and from the cerebrum to other parts of the brain. When the white matter is impaired or damaged, it can block communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.


Dazzan blames tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in pot. While most marijuana contains onlu 2-4 percent of THC, about 100 high-potency brands of pot contain as much as 14 percent THC.

“What we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all,” explained Dazzan.

Dr. Romina Mizrahi, director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention clinic at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who has studied marijuana, told Digital Journal the damage can be serious.

 “Teenagers think that cannabis is harmless,” she warned. “It is not. And for some people, it’s particularly dangerous.”


The study is published in the journal The Lancet.

How Are We So Easily Fooled?

We Won’t Get Fooled Again

Starting When?

Stella Morabito recommends a couple of books, to explain mass delusions.

Item: When the Occupy Wall Street / 99% movement was getting into high gear, I publicly speculated that the force behind the agitations was George Soros, the man who made $1 billion betting against the British Pound. I searched for the term “George Soros Occupy Wall St”, with no meaningful results. Three days later, “George Soros Funds Groups Behind Occupy Wall St” could be found on some media outlets.

So how do we get so thoroughly fooled, so long and hard? Here’s a clue: We are being manipulated by opinion manufacturing specialists who have an extremely insightful understanding of human foibles. Here’s a diagram that perhaps oversimplifies the issue, but at least it can get us started talking about it:


General Smedley Darlington Butler was a soldier’s soldier, he cleaned up a WW1 army camp in Belgium that was a death trap. (This was when influenza took millions of lives.)

So I ask my old Aunt Mary what she remembers about him. “He’s a bum.” This was when Philadelphia was more corrupt than Chicago, Butler was appointed police commissioner, he was “no good Texas toiler paper (wouldn’t take crap off anyone).”

The mass-brainwashing propaganda machine flooded the press, nationwide (Aunty had never been near Philly) with negative stories.

He was a Friend (a Quaker). When he’d go home & talk with his Dad (a Congressman), it was all “thee” and “thou”. But in khaki, he was one tough s.o.b., “Old Gimlet Eye” was what the men called him.

My old sister Sheila watched President Lyndon Baines Johnson give a speech about The Gulf of Tonkin Incident. She says “he was gripping the pedestal so hard his knuckles were white, I knew he was lying”.