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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


The Sermon on the Mount (continued) – 10 October 2006
By Mary T. Hoffman

The next Beatitude found in Matthew 5:4 is:

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
~ King James Version

Or in the New American Standard Bible version:

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

I’ve always associated the word “mourning” with the death of a loved one, and the ensuing emotional pain or grief caused by that loss. However, I have come to expand my definition of “mourning” from the personal to the sadness felt in empathy with others that I have never met – both human and other animal.

Most people will respond emotionally to the news or photographs of human children starving in a far off land, or to the occasional news item of the suffering of an animal such as a horse or a dog.

But I think that God calls us to expand our empathy, opening our eyes to the suffering hidden away, not only of those humans who are at the mercy of cruel caretakers, but of the billions of other animals – sentient beings who feel joy and pain as we do, whose lives are routinely destroyed in the most horrendous ways imaginable.

And for what? For the fleeting, dubious pleasure of a meal or the erroneous nutritional propaganda kept before the public by those industries that callously exploit both – the humans and the other animals: keeping humans fearful of not getting proper nutrients unless they consume the very animal products that are most likely to give them problems.

A truly spiritual mourning is not a selfish or personal indulgence. If a person doesn’t mourn for the whole of creation, they really don’t receive the blessing.

To be continued.

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