Slide 15 Slide 2 Foto di Filippo Maria Gianfelice

Beatitudes. Eight steps to happiness.

2009 – Servant Books. Cincinnati, Ohio.

Raniero Cantalamessa This book is a collection of meditations on the Gospel beatitudes given to the papal household in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI during Advent of 2006 and Lent of 2007.

The beatitudes, even within the New Testament, underwent a development of different applications according to the theology of the particular Gospel writer and of the needs of the community for which he was writing. Exegetes have distinguished three successive phases in this process: the initial phase, consisting of the beatitudes as we assume they were originally formulated by Jesus during his life; the intermediate phase, represented by the oral traditions that preceded the writing of the Gospels, in which an initial interpretation was already underway; and the last phase, the final versions of the beatitudes that have reached us in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, which are laid out in parallel following this preface. Jacques Dupont takes this approach in his monumental study on the beatitudes, and I will have an opportunity to present-and occasionally to discuss-his chief conclusions during the course of these meditations.

In keeping with the developing nature of applications for the beatitudes, we will also read the beatitudes in light of the new situations in which we find ourselves today, with the difference, of course, that the interpretations of the Gospel writers are inspired and are thus normative for everyone at all times, while today’s interpretations do not share this special privilege.

What Saint Gregory the Great says of all of Scripture applies to the beatitudes as well, namely, “Cum legentibus crescit, ” “It grows with [the] persons reading … it. “I Scripture always reveals new implications and richer content, according to the new needs and questions with which it is read. It is in this spirit that I intend to reflect on the beatitudes, attempting thereby to illumine our lives from the perspective of the beatitudes and to shed light on the beatitudes from our experiences. According to Matthew, Jesus climbed a mountain in order to proclaim the beatitudes, and we will do the same to meditate on them. Each meditation will be like another step upward in the effort to scale this “eight-storey” mountain.