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 | By Joey Reistroffer

Blessed are they: the bee-attitudes

The bishop’s “worker bees” were buzzing about the first Diocesan Eucharistic Congress held in South Carolina. They were proud to be a part of it, and even better, they have been sent forth to serve.

“I don’t have a mission,” Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS, said. “The Church has a mission. I’m just building on it.”

That mission is the same one Jesus commissioned the Apostles to carry out: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). It applies to us today just as it did to the first disciples.

This breaking of the bread at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Divine Mercy Saturday showed that Jesus truly is with us today in the Eucharist.

Now the bishop has commissioned his flock “to inspire a movement of Catholics … who are here, converted, formed and unified,” to build up the faith by inviting others to join us.

“That’s what we are going to do in South Carolina,” he said.

He has used the image of bees working together to describe how he wants Catholics to work toward a “sweeter place to be.” And some of his plans include organizing an even grander Eucharistic Congress in 2027 with a hopeful 10,000 believers attending.

He wants us to proclaim the Good News and to help those they inspire to understand the faith through the catechism.

He wants his worker bees to engage youth and young people by establishing pre-K Catholic schools throughout South Carolina called Holy Angels Academies. “We are doing things — big! That’s what the Church expects, so we are going to do it as a diocese.”

Father Jeffrey Kirby, STL, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Lancaster, revved up the worker bees called to carry out this vision by giving an incredible talk on the Eight Beatitudes.

Those who heard it are going forth with the right “bee-attitude” that Jesus set forth in his Sermon on the Mount.

“He calls each of us by name,” Father Kirby said. “We have to hear, and we have to listen. … When he said, ‘Follow me,’ he meant it literally.

“We have to hear the call of Jesus and respond. He leads; we follow,” Father Kirby added. “We have to respond like Peter, when Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’

“Peter’s answer was beautiful: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’”

Then Father Kirby asked his audience, “Is that your response to our Lord, Jesus?”

Are we willing to tell Jesus, “You are my everything … I can trust you, and I surrender,” Father Kirby asked.

“He deserves unconditional surrender. He doesn’t believe in quid pro quo,” Father Kirby explained. “Until you are willing to give that unconditional surrender, none of this makes sense.” The priest said we must have “some skin in the game” and give the Lord our complete trust; only then can we become a true member of his Church. And only then will the beatitudes make sense.

He said the early Church followed the beatitudes, and we should, too.

“The order of the beatitudes is important,” Father Kirby stressed. “If we can’t get that first beatitude right, we can’t get the other ones.”

Jesus put them in this order during the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-12).

Blessed are the poor in spirit

“We don’t like this poverty of spirit,” Father Kirby said.

When we have a poverty of spirit, we have nothing to bargain with. But we are beggars; we put our entire trust in the Lord. Once we are completely humble and trusting in Christ, we can move toward …

Blessed are they who mourn

“In biblical context, they who mourn and grieve their own sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world are blessed,” Father Kirby explained.

Then he asked, “Why is it that we slaughter children in the womb?”

Do we mourn for those who are slaughtered? Do we mourn for those who do the slaughtering? Do we mourn for those who allow the slaughtering?

Until we mourn, we can’t move on to …

Blessed are the meek

“What is meekness? Meekness is fulfilling our role. Knowing our place. You don’t overstep, but you don’t understep,” he stated.

He charged the faithful to ask in prayer, “Lord, show me my vocation.”

Then pursue what God shows you before engaging in …

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness

“We have to want it. We have to keep striving,” Father Kirby urged.

Perhaps we will fall, but we can’t give up.

“Blessed is the fall that brought you closer to God,” then he added that those first four beatitudes “are all about us.”

And we need those first four before moving ahead to …

Blessed are the merciful

“We have to give to others what we have received,” Father Kirby said. God gave us mercy. “You have to give others mercy,” and the “Our Father” is a perfect example.

When we ask the Lord to forgive us our trespasses, we must forgive others their trespasses. We must show mercy, then we can continue to …

Blessed are the clean of heart

When we seek to become clean of heart, we seek God, Father Kirby explained.

“We want to see as God sees. When we seek the purity of heart, we seek to have the eyes of God,” he said.

What a blessing. And it gets better …

Blessed are the peacemakers

“Peacemakers stand against the grain and seek truth,” Father Kirby stated. “Peacemakers speak the truth and accept what happens.”

Consequences of speaking the truth often can be brutal. Ignoring the truth, however, can be much worse.

If we lose our voice and do not speak the truth, we should not be surprised when our culture falls apart, he said. That is why the Lord calls for peacemakers.

“We’re willing to put ourselves on the line to speak truth and to defend truth,” Father Kirby said of the peacemakers.

This leads to the final beatitude …

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness

“When we go out to defend truth, there is going to be persecution,” Father Kirby relayed.

He called this eighth beatitude “the commissioning.”

The Apostles followed the beatitudes. They spoke the truth about Jesus, and they were persecuted. But they did not falter.

“You’ve been commissioned to go and speak the truth,” he said. “This is what I’m supposed to do. This is how I’m supposed to walk.

“Jesus Christ is the ‘yes’ to God. When we walk the beatitudes, we get closer and closer to our Lord, Jesus,” he expressed.

And when we walk the beatitudes with bee-attitudes, big things will happen.