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Even before the New Year 2020 began we were hearing about some of the trends for the new decade reviewed by many TV stations. Here are a few I heard: Keto diets, mindfulness meditations to manage stress, civil media: a way toward meaningful connectedness, hundreds of consumer products to avoid burnout at home, at work and at play, ultra-convenience built into everything, no “one size fits all” everything requires customization. Generation Z, those born in 1990 - 2002, who include the Millennials, are the largest voting population in the country. And lastly, Oprah Winfrey is on tour, in partnership with Weight Watchers, after nine years off the air. Her tour is call VISION 2020. Oprah said in a recent interview, “My goal is, and always has been, to LIVE MY BEST LIFE and, to know my intention and purpose for each day.” Oprah hopes people begin withthree steps; 1. Start with stillness. 2. Create your vision. What do you want? 3. Gratitude: be aware of how grateful you are of all you have become, (not necessarily of all you have). Write in a Gratitude Journal.

What is the meaning of any one of these trends? In what direction are they pointing us? Researchers who study trends within all aspects of our lives, remind us that each of these trends moving forward, will depend on the courage, passion and behavior changes of the people who are following one or more of these. Trends tend not to be the rock solid, tried and true, go to values that beyond doubt guide our lives. So what can? I suggest the Beatitudes.

Jesus said, the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12 is our model and benchmark for living our best lives as Christians. There are eight as we know: 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 after righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.”

I offer Oprah’s three step way (listed above) as a way to start being intentional and purposeful in our life as we reflect on the Beatitudes: 1. Read one Beatitude at a time. Be still for at least five minutes in a quiet place. 2. Create your vision of how you can live this Beatitude in your life. Since this is your reflection, there is no right answer. Start with small actions and behaviors. 3. Then, pray in silence and or write what you are grateful for in this Blessing. Ask for the grace to be able to have this “attitude” toward people in your life. Repeat the steps with each Beatitude.

The blessings are full of significant words and concepts that can lead us to better wellness, mindfulness, connectedness as our trends in 2020 direct us. Our time in reflection can be customized to our individual lives and circumstances. The only one I cannot promise is convenience.

Praying the Beatitudes of Jesus probably will not lead you to a life of convenience, however, it will lead to a brave, wholehearted life and hopefully your best faithful life in God.

Sister Nancy Beckenhauer