Teaching the Beatitudes

Dear Catholic Exchange:

I have been asked to teach the meaning of the “Beatitudes” in our confirmation class. Can you give me some pointers on how to do this? I am not a teacher, merely a parent.

Betty Marie

Dear Betty Marie,

Peace in Christ!

Depending upon the age group, there are many different ways to present the Beatitudes. Regardless of the age, you may want to start by reading the passage itself from Matthew. In addition, a short definition of “beatitude” would be in order. Beatitude refers to perfect happiness. Beatitude, however, is not just happiness in the sense of having pleasing circumstances or material security, but a happiness in relation to the possession of the “good.” The “good” refers to the “end” or goal — the fulfillment — of each person's life in the plan of God. Thus, the eight Beatitudes given by Jesus represent the way of life one must pursue in order to attain ultimate happiness.

The first resource we suggest is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1716-28. This is a short section, and yet it requires careful reading. This section on beatitude has a depth and richness to unveil if read with meditation and prayer, imploring the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Praying the Beatitudes by Max Oliva, S.J. is a highly recommended book published by Ignatius Press. Mother Teresa and the Beatitudes, edited by Eileen and Kathleen Egan, also published by Ignatius, provides spiritual reflections by Mother Teresa on the Beatitudes.

We also recommend The Gospel of Matthew in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible series. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch provide some excellent and readable commentary. The section on the Beatitudes provides some short commentary and then an explanation of each individual Beatitude. All of the books mentioned thus far can be ordered directly from Ignatius Press by calling 1-800-651-1531 or from the website: www.ignatius.com.

Finally, the Catechism of St. Pius X has a section on the Beatitudes available on line at www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/pius/pbeatitu.htm. The Catholic Encyclopedia has an article on the Beatitudes that can be accessed online at www.newadvent.org/cathen/02371a.htm.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-MY FAITH or email us with any further questions on this or any other subject. If you have found this information to be helpful, please consider a donation to CUF to help sustain this service. You can call the toll-free line, visit us at www.cuf.org, or send your contribution to the address below. Thank you for your support as we endeavor to “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.”

United in the Faith,

Amy Barragree

Information Specialist

Catholics United for the Faith

827 North Fourth Street

Steubenville, OH 43952

800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

Editor's Note: To submit a faith question to Catholic Exchange, email href=”mailto:faithquestions@catholicexchange.com”>faithquestions@catholicexchange.com. Please note that all email submitted to Catholic Exchange becomes the property of Catholic Exchange and may be published in this space. Published letters may be edited for length and clarity. Names and cities of letter writers may also be published. Email addresses of viewers will not normally be published.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage