Inner Condition

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called
   children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’
   sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute
   you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on
   my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,
   for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who
   were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-11)

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool,” you will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

For Contemplation

Jesus makes clear in the Sermon on the Mount that the inner condition of a human being is an indication of sin or well-being, not just external actions or practices. It is the inner state of being that is recognized by God, for, as Jesus says, God observes and knows in secret, whether it be in giving or in praying.

We know our inner condition and we know our intention. The results of our intention may not be visible to the world, but our intention is known by God. The intention cannot be separated from the results because the results, the fruit, show us how we affect other people. One step on the path to spiritual maturity is coming to know how we affect others. We adjust our thinking, our actions, and our intentions in order to co-create wholeness and true relationships with other human beings. We come to understand the connection between our inner state and the outer world in which we live. We see how our inner condition affects the quality of our relationships with others. Nothing changes in our external world and our relationships do not change until our inner condition changes.

We experience oneness when our inner condition, our effect on the world, the results of our actions, and God’s will merge into alignment.

Prayer

Merciful and compassionate God, you see us in ways that others cannot see us; you see us in ways that we cannot see ourselves. Reveal to us the ways in which we can align ourselves with your will. Give us the strength to acknowledge when our intention interferes with our ability to do good. Help us to seek you with humility and an open heart; help us approach you with a heart that seeks resonance with your revelation in Jesus Christ. Teach us the ways that purify our thoughts, our desires, and our love so that we may become an instrument of your will. When we are alone, and when we fall short of the good we seek, help us remember that you work alongside of our effort, and help us remember that it is your love that inspires our love. When your light and goodness are revealed, help us acknowledge your grace with thanksgiving. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.