The Blessedness of Those Who Mourn1. “Blessed are they who mourn,” (Mt. 5:5) says Jesus Christ, in direct contrast to the opinion of the world, which believes that happiness is to be found in merrymaking. Who is right? The Gospel does not forbid us to rejoice; indeed, a blessing was given to the wedding celebration in Cana. This, however, was a manifestation of good and honest joy. It is the immoderate revelling of irresponsible worldlings and sinners which is condemned in the Gospel. God does not promise these any of His consolations, but only remorse and, perhaps, despair. On the other hand, those who suffer are called blessed by Jesus Christ, Who has promised to console them. The consolations which they will receive are those which spring from their repentance, from the forgiveness which they obtain for their sins, and from the expectation of everlasting life, which is promised to those who choose the royal road of the Cross. They will also enjoy the consolations of contemplation and of the love of God.
The Christian sheds tears of sadness, of repentance, and of joy. He is sometimes sad because he is sensitive to the evil which exists in the world. When he sees so many of his fellow-men going from sin to sin on the downward slope towards damnation, he is saddened and longs to remedy this situation as much as possible by prayer, good example, and penance.
Perhaps you are indifferent to the evil which is being perpetrated in the world? Perhaps nothing has power to upset you apart from your own petty troubles and frustrated ambitions? This kind of sadness is not pleasing to God.
Another motive for sadness is the great physical and moral suffering which afflicts so many of our brethren. We should be generous in rendering whatever assistance we can, generous also in our understanding and in our sympathy. Very often a single gesture of compassion towards a man who is suffering is of greater value than a substantial alms which is offered with coldness and indifference.
2. As well as regretting the evils which beset humanity, the Christian should also shed tears of repentance for his sins. Our sins are so many that they demand penance and reparation. St. Aloysius Gonzaga wept whenever he recalled the peccadilloes of his childhood, which were hardly serious enough to be real sins. We have sinned, and may be sinners still, but do we weep for our transgressions?
A sincere Christian is not content merely to regret his sins and to pray for forgiveness, but he imposes on himself voluntary penances in expiation of his own offences and of the offences of others. Tears of repentance are blessed by God, Who forgives and pardons those who mourn for their transgressions.
3. Finally, the Christian will sometimes shed tears of joy. There are some people who are not easily moved. Rigid and inflexible, they proceed in all things with mathematical precision and cannot be swayed by the promptings of the heart. They are incapable of shedding a tear. If we love God sincerely, however, we shall have what was called by the Fathers the gift of tears. It is because we know God so little that we love Him so little. If we loved Him fervently, the contemplations of His infinite goodness and mercy would move us to tears of love and of joy. So it was with the Saints in the presence of the Crucifix and of the Blessed Sacrament, and in the presence of the marvels of creation. We are incapable of shedding tears of love and of joy because we know and love God so little. "Our love and knowledge of God are imperfect," (S. Th., I-II, q. 68, a. 2) writes St. Thomas. We are too absorbed in worldly vanities to be capable of such heartfelt joy and love. Let us meditate more often and love God more fervently, and He will grant us the gift of tears.