TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
Finally, the Saviour does not only concern Himself to ameliorate the life of the poor man, He wills also to assure his happiness. He beatifies him from the commencement of His ministry. I open the holy Gospel: " Blessed are the poor," (Matthew v. 3.) says the Saviour. These are His first words. They are the preface to His teaching. One would say that He hastens to speak these divine words because they are suited to the capacity of the greatest number of those who would become His disciples. They are suited to the capacity of the small, the ignorant, the humble—all those whom the world despises, and whom He came Himself to solace and relieve."Blessed are the poor." Wherefore ? Because "the kingdom of heaven is theirs." Their future is happiness without end. But is it not proper that this royal dignity with which they will one day be clothed should already project upon their present life a first reflection of felicity and glory ? Thus the Church, faithful interpreter of the feelings of her Divine Spouse, has always surrounded the poor with a holy respect and tender affection. If she relieves their temporal misery, she strives especially to raise their mind and their heart towards the good things which are destined for them, and which already enrich their souls. Happy are the poor who can taste and understand the teaching of Jesus Christ! They, while still poor, are very rich, and their opulent poverty, to use the expression of a Father, assures them, at the same time, dignity and happiness.