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As she prays for her grandchildren, Mary Pederson ponders what the Beatitudes teach us about being blessed.

When visiting over Christmas vacation, our 9-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, crawled into bed with me. Born at just two pounds, four ounces, Ellie struggles to keep weight on and shivers through most of the winter. I gladly lifted the comforter, drew her in, and wrapped her in my arms. When Ellie awoke, she jumped out of bed to join her siblings for breakfast, gloating: “I got to sleep with Mimi last night!” Though having been cold, Ellie felt blessed to have snuggled with grandma.

We have always prayed for our children and grandchildren to be blessed—petitioning favor and protection for each of them. But after reflecting on the Beatitudes, I wonder.

The familiar passage from the Sermon on the Mount portrays blessedness in a direct relationship with the Beatitudes, with those who are poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted and receive every kind of insult and persecution because of Him (Matthew 5:1-12).

In the previous chapter of Matthew, we read of “great crowds” following Jesus because he was "curing every disease and illness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). I imagine Jesus preaching and the hillside blanketed with men, women, and children who have been humbled by life—those in absolute need of a refreshing word, a healing touch, or a warm embrace.

These were the people who now occupy neonatal intensive care units, cancer centers, unemployment lines, nursing homes, homeless shelters, rehab clinics, funeral homes, and refugee camps. These are the sick, the poor, the lowly, the hungry, the grieving, and the bullied.




So, in my heart of hearts, I ponder: Do I really want my children and grandchildren to be blessed? Do I want them to experience health problems, poverty, grief, lowliness, insults, and persecution? Yet life’s losses and difficulties do not automatically lead to blessedness. Rather, the Beatitudes teach us the truly blessed are those who humbly acknowledge their need and are open to God’s healing presence.

I would never wish sickness, poverty, persecution, or discrimination on anyone, much less my precious grandchildren. But I want them to understand, especially amid trials, God draws close to the poor in spirit like a “hen gathering her young under her wings” (Matthew 23:37) I want them to know Jesus is near when we are sick or struggling.


The truly blessed are those who humbly acknowledge their need and are open to God’s healing presence. #CatholicMom

My prayer is for each of our grandchildren to live the beatitudes as peacemakers: kind, meek, merciful, pure of heart, and righteous. I pray they seek the Lord each day, knowing they can do nothing on their own and may boast of nothing except Jesus Christ. And when life hands them difficulties—from birth to old age—I pray they will trust in God’s loving presence and know of their blessedness.

I woke up this morning chilled and immediately thought of sweet Ellie, wishing we could warm one another. Being born prematurely, life has handed Ellie challenges, but she is blessed with a tenacious spirit and loving, faith-filled parents. I pray Ellie will be blessed all the days of her life with God’s closeness to warm her (especially when Mimi isn’t near)—body and soul!



Copyright 2023 Mary Pedersen
Images: Canva