This is one of the few Scriptures that see frequent usage at both funerals and weddings. Why do engaged couples still choose it for their wedding day? Possibly the same reason grieving families choose it: a comfortable familiarity.
The litany of virtues which Jesus blesses may well be a litany to which lovers may aspire. Let’s read, then go a little deeper:
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
What’s one thing we can say? The grace of Christ begins and ends (literally) with the Kingdom of God. Does a couple possess an awareness that they are the domestic church? Two, and maybe more, gathering in the name of the Son? Do they know they have a unique sacramental opportunity to usher in the Kingdom? My wife and I were fortunate our wedding day fell on the Sunday this Scripture was proclaimed.
As for the virtues listed, any one of them: mercy, making peace, comforting the sad, etc., any one of them is practice for the world outside the domestic church. We practice these on our loved ones and two things might happen.
First, we may find that even the people we love most are damaged by our sins and failings. So we have a realism in our approach to marriage. We might fight and hurt each other, but hopefully one of us has the presence of mind and spirit to help pull the other back from the precipice.
And second, in our successes, we can encourage one another and eventually our children to act and feel toward others as we act and feel in the daily expression of our marriage covenant.
Any other personal experiences or scholarly insights on the intermixing of the Beatitudes with Christian marriage?