The gospels are the most printed and sold books in the world.
The four holy gospels in the Bible which inform us about the life, works and teachings of Jesus Christ, though in a gist, have influenced billions of people down the centuries. The gospels are the most printed and sold books in the world.
While for millions the entire gospels keep providing a “blueprint” to base their life’s objectives and action plan on, there are others who are contented with smaller portions of it too. For many, just one or two Bible verses have brought about a total conversion in their lives. Mahatma Gandhi too was highly inspired after reading the Bible. But one part which influenced him most, apart from “turning the other cheek”, was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Here Jesus had outlined the eight Beatitudes, found in the gospels of Sts. Matthew and Luke.
Reading them prayerfully does touch one’s inner being: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted; Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled; Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God; Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God; Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”.
One can actually take just any one of those to meditate on and/or use it to reorient one’s life and grow spiritually. Some people, after deeper meditation on them, have developed their thoughts further.
Some years ago, Pope Francis, while visiting Sweden and celebrating the Mass on November 1 — the feast of All Saints, proposed to the faithful six new beatitudes that he believed could help them lead a holy life in modern times. He said, “New situations require new energy and a new commitment,” and went on to enumerate them: “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart; Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness; Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him; Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home; Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others; Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians”.
It would certainly be worth meditating and praying on them. And our prayers can possibly give birth to new beatitudes too.