Beatitudes – Don’t Be Fooled

Although I probably won’t have time to do the following during today’s class (we have some time to look at the Sermon on the Mount but then we’ll be attending the Living Rosary), I thought I ‘d share with you an idea I had for talking about the Beatitudes (which, of course, is the Gospel for All Saints Day, so you may be able to use this quite soon!)

The challenge is to help young people understand what the Beatitudes are all about. In essence, Jesus is teaching us to see in a different way than the world teaches us. He is saying to us, “Don’t be fooled by what the world says will make you happy.” This chart I created illustrates:

Don t be fooled when the world teaches you that, in order to be happy, you need to Rather .
be rich, make lots of money, and have lots of possessions. Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
constantly experience pleasure and always be having a good time. Happy are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
be powerful, strong, and always making sure that your voice is the loudest. Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
look out for yourself, climb over others to get to the top, and grab for all you can. Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
be ruthless, take no prisoners, win at all costs, and never back down. Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
cut corners, bend the rules, fulfill your every desire, and be selfish Happy are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
fight to get what you want, divide and conquer, and defeat others. Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
‘stay comfortable, blend in, conform at all costs, and just do what feels good. Happy are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

A good lead in to this would be to talk about optical illusions or mirages…something we think we see but which fools our eyes. Consider using images such as these that I found by Googling “optical illusions” and clicking on images. Emphasize how we originally see one thing, but then, with some coaching or instruction, we come to see another reality present there. The Beatitudes do the same: Jesus teaches us to see in a way that is vastly different from the way the world teaches us to see.

About Joe Paprocki 2747 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

12 Comments on Beatitudes – Don’t Be Fooled

  1. I am definitely going to use the above information when I teach the beatitudes lesson. Thanks for sharing and making it a bit easier for me to find “outside” information to go along with each lesson! You are a blessing.

  2. Certainly i will also use this material for the parents whose children are enrolled in our Catechism program.
    Blessings & thank you so much for sharing your gift!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I adapted it for an All Saints Day “Saintapalooza” with our Confirmation candidates. After we read the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew, we reflected on them using this grid. I reminded them that the saints were sometimes rejected by others, but that was because they were not fooled by the world’s promises. Great idea and very nicely worded!

  4. Today I taught the Beatitudes lesson. I passed out some optical illusions as you had mentioned and they REALLY liked looking at them and trying to figure them out! I tried to emphasize how we originally see one thing, but then, with some coaching or instruction, we come to see another reality present. I read them the grid, but I think it would have been better if I had handed one out to each of them. I did try to teach them that the way the world teaches and the way Jesus teaches are very different. I did turn a poster upside down in the classroom. They liked that too but I had to explain a couple times why I did that (I think they may have thought I was just being silly). In generally, the class went fairly well, I am not sure they ended up grabbing the concept of all the beatitudes…maybe only some of them…

    • Josie, thanks for summarizing your session. Sounds like your class went well for the most part. You’re probably right that it would have helped to have the chart in their hands so they could look at them, see, and compare. At that point, the upside-down poster was probably one too many metaphors. It’ll be interesting to see next week if they can recall the overall concept of the Beatitudes giving us a new way of seeing. Thanks for sharing.

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