Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Guest writer and CAC teacher Cynthia Bourgeault continues exploring Jesus’ eight blessings known as the Beatitudes.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” —Matthew 5:6
The key to this fourth Beatitude lies in understanding what the word “righteousness” means. To our post-Puritan, post-Victorian ears, righteousness is a synonym for virtue. It means being moral, behaving correctly. But in Israel of Jesus’ times, righteousness was something much more dynamic. Visualize it as a force field: an energy-charged sphere of holy presence. To be “in the righteousness of God” (as Old Testament writers are fond of saying) means to be directly connected to this vibrational field, to be anchored within God’s own aliveness. There is nothing subtle about the experience; it is as fierce and intransigent a bond as picking up a downed electrical wire. To “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” then, speaks to this intensity of connectedness.
Jesus promises that when the hunger arises within you to find your own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, it will be satisfied—in fact, the hunger itself is a sign that the bond is already in place. As we enter the path of transformation, the most valuable thing we have working in our favor is our yearning. Some spiritual teachers will even say that the yearning you feel for God is actually coming from the opposite direction; it is in fact God’s yearning for you. “The eye with which I see God is the same one with which God sees me,” said Meister Eckhart, one of the greatest Christian mystics, stressing the complete simultaneity of the energy of connection.  When we yearn, we come into sympathetic vibration with a deeper heart-knowing. The heart is an organ of alignment; it connects us. Yearning is the vibration of that connectedness.
In this Beatitude Jesus is not talking about doing virtuous deeds so you’ll be rewarded later; he is talking about being in connection with your fundamental yearning.
Gateway to Silence:
Create in me a pure heart, O God.
 Johannes Eckhart, Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, Sermon IV, “True Hearing,” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/eckhart/sermons.vii.html, 32-33.
Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008), 44-45.