Fr. Casey Cole’s book The Way of Beatitude: Living Radical Hope in a World of Division and Despair is a fresh way of considering the ageless Beatitudes, found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Many people find the beatitudes hard to understand, and in a world that shies away from sacrifice and suffering, that would make sense. Why would the poor be blessed? Why should anyone value purity of heart? Why would anyone by willing to suffer for anything? And how could anyone aspire to be a peacemaker in this world of division? We live in a culture that values material goods, creaturely comforts, and “freedom of choice.” We live in a world that claims to be everything, but leaves many feeling empty and dissatisfied. Fr. Casey Cole’s book on the Beatitudes is the perfect remedy for our despairing, divided world. He offers it hope.
Fr. Casey considers each Beatitude in turn, exploring what Jesus Christ means when He blessed those whom He chooses to bless. He explains what living out each Beatitude means in our modern world, where so many of the Beatitudes seem repellent to the modern mind. But the Beatitudes as just as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago, as Fr. Casey demonstrates. Finally, each chapter concludes with reflection questions and practical applications of each Beatitude.
Personally, I always struggled with this part of the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe it’s because I was originally made to memorize them back in high school. Maybe it’s because I had an easier time understanding why I would want to be a peacemaker, but not why I would want to be poor in spirit. Fr. Casey’s book was a wonderfully fresh take on the Beatitudes, and I especially appreciated the practical applications that were found at the end of each chapter. If you want to understand the Beatitudes better, or if you’re just looking for a new way of viewing them, The Way of Beatitude is a book well-worth the read.