Your Best Life Now?

Epiphany 4 Tuesday

Matthew 5:4

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Christ continues his assault on the religion of the world and overthrows what they considered to be the best, most blessed life on earth, namely, that someone could get to the point where he had only good, pleasant days without suffering any discomfort, about whom Psalm 73:5 says: “They do not suffer misfortune like other people; they do not have any hardship like other people.” For this is the highest that people desire: to have joy and delight and be without anything bad. But Christ turns things around and posits the opposite, calling those blessed who mourn and suffer. And these teachings are immediately directed against the mind and thoughts of the world, as it would like things to be…You ask again: “What are we to do then? Should all those who laugh, sing, jump, and dress well, eat, and drink be condemned? We do read about kings and holy people who were joyful and lived well. And especially St. Paul is a strange saint who wants us to be joyful at all times, Philippians 4:4″… Answer: As I said that having wealth is neither sin nor forbidden, so being joyful, eating and drinking well is also not sin or condemned. And neither is having honor or a good name. And yet, it is blessed when I do not have this, or when it can let go of it, and endure poverty, misery, shame, and persecution instead…Therefore, this is the meaning: We do not call him spiritually poor who does not have money or property, but him who is not greedy about it, who does not build his comfort and confidence on it, as if it were his heavenly kingdom. Accordingly, we also do not call it “suffering and mourning” when someone outwardly always lets his head hang, makes a sour face, and never laughs, but when someone does not build his comfort on enjoying only good days and having plenty, as the world does which does not look further than having nothing but joy and delight in this life, and feasts its eyes on its own well-being, while it neither considers nor cares about God or other people. Accordingly, many excellent and great people, kings and others, who were Christians, had to mourn and suffer, even though they lived a glorious life before the world, as David always complains about his weeping and suffering in the psalms…Mourning and bearing sorrow is not a rare plant among the Christians, even if it outwardly does not look like it, even if they would like to be glad in Christ and outwardly, as much as they can. For they must daily see and feel in the heart that, when they look at the world, that there is so much evil, arrogance, despising and blaspheming of God and his Word; that there is, additionally, so much sorrow and misfortune the devil brings about in both church and world, so that they cannot have many joyful thoughts and their spiritual joy is very weak…Especially the dear preachers must learn this well and practice
it daily: They must swallow all sorts of envy, hatred, mockery and ridicule, ingratitude, contempt, and slander, so that their heart and soul are pierced and must be tortured without ceasing…Therefore, if you do not want to be a child of the world but have a place among the Christians, let yourself be found on the list of those who help groan and mourn, so that you may be comforted, as this promise reads…For Christ speaks these words and promises comfort so that Christians do not despair in their sorrow and let their heart’s joy be taken and extinguished completely, but blend such mourning with comfort and refreshment.

St. Louis ed., 7:363-368.

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