Pilgrims of the Cross by Jim Forest

Pilgrims of the Cross

The Beatitude of Persecution

by Jim Forest

I used to sing with my children the black spiritual that rose out of Jacob’s vision of the angel-filled ladder linking heaven and earth:

We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
Pilgrims of the Cross.

Every rung goes higher, higher,
Every rung goes higher, higher,
Every rung goes higher, higher,
Pilgrims of the Cross.

Perhaps it’s from singing that lovely song so many times that I came to understand that the Beatitudes are an eight-runged ladder to heaven that starts with poverty of spirit and rise to the Cross and finally to the joy of the Resurrection.

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Christ’s S . . .