Do you have experience with people who have no reason to live? They don’t enjoy life, they don’t know how to enjoy themselves, and they are often a burden to those around them, but a to themselves. Viktor Frankl is a university professor in Vienna. He often comes into contact with such people as patients. It is a type of neurosis in which people suffer from losing the meaning of life. Patients have spiritual and psychological emptiness, they do not know why to live. They try in vain to banish this state of theirs with alcohol, narcotics, or sex. Their behavior like this is just a new poison to a sick and empty soul. Such a person must stop spinning around himself. He must leave himself and begin to be interested in and live for someone or something else outside himself. Then he will be happier and healthier.
What doctor Frankl is talking about today was already said by the divine psychiatrist – Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel about the blessed (cf. Mt 5:1).
Jesus’ speech – as delivered by the evangelist Matthew – represents a new perspective on man’s meaning and activity towards God and his neighbor, as well as himself. It is a specific new view and approach that Christ establishes and which not only teaches but also commands to fulfill. Nowhere does Jesus present himself more clearly than in these very words, and nowhere does Jesus say more clearly what he asks of those who accept him as their God. It is because Jesus begins his mission with this speech on the mountain. When a person looks for the meaning and purpose of his wealthy life, and advantages, when he thinks that he will find his happiness in that, Jesus says that this is what brings him unhappiness. Jesus comes with a teaching that enriches and prevents the influence of poison, and sin in a person’s life. What the world often rejects, Jesus exalts. Those who have found their goal and the value of their life outside themselves turn to God, then his life will never become empty, or unhappy. Whoever accepts Christ, recognizes difficulties and crosses in his life.
The Beatitudes raise the questions of whom, in Jesus’ understanding, are the poor, the weeping, the silent, the hungry for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the ones who spread peace, who are the persecuted, and the reviled. Questions beg answers, but they all have one thing in common: they will be rewarded. Jesus explains these requirements at the beginning of his activity, gradually during his public performance. This speech is considered the most beautiful and at the same time the most Christian and exemplary evangelization. At the same time, the text is difficult and demanding, it needs an explanation. The Church accepts these words of Christ as a synthesis of the commands of the Gospel, a kind of constitutional law of Christian morality. For worldly ethics, Christ’s words are utopia, words far from life and also dangerous for the structures of dreaming and dreaming. These words caused and still cause many discussions today. These are words that shock. This is because Jesus points to a new image of the world, which is based on different values than those on which he was based, and is still based on a world that does not believe in God. Jesus’ words point to the idea that God had for a man when he created him. Indeed, these words are in contrast to what we encounter in ordinary life. Even in unbelieving people, these words, when they pay adequate attention to them, evoke a positive view of Christ and his teachings. Jesus places a radical emphasis on this model of life and calls it his program. He convinces us of this with his own life. Even in unbelieving people, these words, when they pay adequate attention to them, evoke a positive view of Christ and his teachings. Jesus places a radical emphasis on this model of life and calls it his program. He convinces us of this with his own life. Even in unbelieving people, these words, when they pay adequate attention to them, evoke a positive view of Christ and his teachings. Jesus places a radical emphasis on this model of life and calls it his program. He convinces us of this with his own life.
Jesus addresses the words on the mountain to all who believe in his divinity. That is, not only to listen to the words, but also to fulfill them in life. It is a challenge to embrace the spirit of these words. Although the words caused astonishment in the crowd, the crowd was equally amazed at Jesus’ teaching. It is the demand of a new heart, “metanoia”, the moral rebirth of man, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus later that night. A Christian who knows how to renounce himself will find wisdom and justice, sanctification and redemption in Christ. After two millennia, we now know more clearly what Jesus meant when he announced the beatitudes at the beginning of his public appearance.
Jesus’ words are proof that all our happiness, even if we combine them, will not cause in us the happiness that we will achieve with Christ. Who will count the disappointments, disgusts, and the like, on which people have based themselves while avoiding the clear demand of Chris?! Wealth, fame, and power, which a person strives for, for which he sacrifices time, effort, health, and often even family, Fri, ends, and others, will not make him happy. “Wings don’t grow out of gold”, notes John Knittel. Who wants to soar to the heights of God, who wants to be truly happy, that is, even those who have something, possess, mean, must see true love more and keep the words of Christ.
Statistics are proof of who takes their own life most often. Whoever has God as his Lord, nothing in the world can stop him from bringing happiness to others. It does not cause others poverty, crying, thirst, pain, or outrage in sin, it does not take away peace or purity of heart. A person who loves God cannot tear him from his heart and will not betray God himself. Those who understood the words of Christ said goodbye to the philosophy of the world, which prevents them from knowing true joy. Such patterns appeal to us even after centuries. From the world history of the Church, they are St. Paul, St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Vincent, St. Agnes, St. Anastasia… From our church history in Slovakia St. Cyril and Methodius, but also bishops Vojtaššák, Gojdič, Buzalka, Hopko, Néczey, and other lay people. God often chooses someone who means nothing to the world. Let’s remember St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Francis, Lucia, and Hyacinth of Fatima. Papini notes, “Only the unwise belief that God exalts them as wise.” The truth is otherwise. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
To choose or select from the gospel what suits me and just keep it – is unreasonable. That’s what sectarians and delusional people do. A believing Christian accepts the whole and unadulterated teachings of Christ. And to remove, and therefore not preserve the words from the mountain about the Beatitudes, would be wrong. A believing Christian does not make a selection and does not discuss what should not and must not be discussed. And this applies especially to the beatitudes. It is right that a believing Christian educates himself in the teachings of Christ, and protects himself from any evil that would transgress the truths of the teachings of Christ. On the contrary, it penetrates even more into the mystery of love in the Gospels. He warns against unreasonable behavior, even at a moment he is underestimated. He who pursues unimportant, secondary goods, the pseudo-joys of the sons of this world is unreasonable.
An example of such a person was Voltaire, who was known to have rejected the teachings of the Church. One story from his life.
He was invited to lunch with King Frederik II, where there were more guests. At one point, someone mentioned heaven. Voltaire, to flash his wit, remarked that he was ready to exchange his place in heaven for one thaler (money at that time). Then a high-ranking member of the court stood up and said, “Mr. Voltaire, remember that you are our guest. The principle here is that you can only sell what you own. If you give me confirmation, sir, that you have a certain place in heaven, I will give you not one thaler, but ten thousand thalers for that place.” Voltaire did not answer this, he could not, and a member of the court deserved great applause and recognition. We see that who proved to be wise and who remained foolish (see F. Bogdan SAC “To spread the word of the Lord”, SPES, Kraków 1995, p. 93).
The Beatitudes of the Lord Jesus do not require a university or special theological education. It is necessary to have a heart and mind open to God. The Holy Spirit gives his strength at the right time so that we know how to confess our faith correctly and also to keep everything that God appropriately asks of us. When we act in this way, the first beatitude is already manifested: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). It is necessary to remember that shortly afterward, when Jesus spoke about the Beatitudes, he also spoke about “woe” (see Lk 6:24-26). We realize that our behavior is decisive, our response to the challenge from the mountain.
Doctor Viktor Frankl can diagnose a patient’s illness. It is more beneficial if we can prevent diseases. It is time not to play with the meaning of life, but to fulfill the task entrusted to us by God faithfully, honestly, with love, and in truth, so that we can receive a just reward from Jesus.