As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
In looking back over the beatitudes we can trace a definite order to them. We see that these are not random sayings, but that each one leads logically into the one that follows. The beatitudes begin as all blessedness begins, with recognizing our spiritual need. Then, knowing that we are spiritually poor, we mourn our spiritual poverty, making us meek before God and others. With this beatitude we hunger and thirst for that which we so desperately need, Moral Righteousness. We continually long to live in right relationship with God and others. We yearn for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus speaks a blessing over those who hunger and thirst for righteousness with the assurance that “they will be filled”. The Greek word translated as “filled” was originally used of the feeding and fattening of animals. It is a word that denotes being so filled up, so satisfied, that one cannot eat another bite. Our part is to hunger and thirst for more righteousness; God’s part is to continually fill us to the brim. Filling us with righteousness is something that only a righteous God can do!
Note well this great mystery of the spiritual life: spiritual health is marked by hunger and thirst for still more. We hunger to be more hungry. Bible commentator Kent Hughes writes about this healthy hungering for more:
The more one conforms to God’s will, the more fulfilled and content one becomes. But that in turn spawns a greater discontent. Our hunger increases and intensifies in the very act of being satisfied (Kent Hughes, Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom).
The twelfth century theologian and mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux, sang the joy of being filled but still longing:
“We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread, And long to feast upon Thee still; We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead, And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.”
PONDER AND PRAY
“For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9
- In what ways has knowing God brought you satisfaction?
- Pray: “Help me love you above all else. Purge my soul of all polluted affections, habits, and rebellions” (Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality).
- What Do you want To Say To God?