My word for this year was Revive. One of the things I have chosen to revive this year, was my dedication to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. It was a project I began last year, which would result in memorizing the entire thing by years end. Just a few verses a week, and by Christmas you should be able to recite the entire thing, start to finish. Except I started late, and so from the beginning I was struggling to get caught up. Then the year kind of fell apart, and so I put it aside.
Early last week I picked it up again, determined to give it another go. Ignoring the mess the migraine medicine makes of my mind. Quieting the voice that says, "You have a miserable time memorizing anything, how are you ever going to do this?" I even told The Boy™ about it over dinner. How next Christmastime, I was going to recite the entire thing to him, start to end. He said, and I quote, "That will be awesome." I recite the verses before I log on to my computer in the morning. I recite them on the way down the street to work in the morning, out loud because I walk, and it's cold, and no one is outside to hear me. I'm thinking when it's not cold, I might not care and still say them out loud.I'll have a lot more learned by then, and it might be a fun challenge to see how many I can repeat by the time I get to school.
Memorizing these verses, has made me stop and thing about the verses themselves. Each verse, as it stands alone. "Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain,".. I don't blame him one bit. I don't like crowds either. In fact, I don't even like the staff room at school when we are all gathered in there for a monthly birthday celebration and I don't work with that many people. Loud, noisy gatherings are not my thing. But this was Jesus. The man who drew crowds wherever He went. This verse is a little surprising in context of itself. "..and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him." So he wasn't alone for long. I gather He wanted to speak just to His disciples because He had something important to tell them. Something so big and awesome, that He couldn't do it with all that noise and chaos of the crowds. So He went by Himself up on the mountain, because He knew that they wouldn't be able to stay away from Him. "And He opened His mouth and taught them saying:" It doesn't say that he lectured them, or that he gave them a speech. No, the words are "and taught them". He didn't come to be better than them, He came to teach them how to love, and honor His Father in Heaven. How to be better, and do better.
Then we come to one of my favorite passages in the Bible. The Beatitudes. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." This is as far as I have gotten, and I can't wait to continue with the rest. When I was a teenager, heavily involved with Teen Encounter at St. Basil's in Methuen, MA, we sang The Beatitudes at mass on our weekends, or if we had Liturgy on Thursday night or Sunday afternoons. It was one of my most favorite songs to sing, and I still have the slip of paper with the words printed on it tucked away in my Bible from 20 years ago. ♫ Rejoice, and be glad... blessed are you, holy are you.. rejoice and be glad.. yours is the kingdom of God.♪ ♪