In his book, Keys to the Third Floor, Father Philip Dion explains the viewpoint of St. Thomas Aquinas that the last five beatitudes help us to positively build virtue.
Fourth Beatitude: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.”
“Hungering and thirsting for justice, says St. Thomas, means doing one’s duty, particularly to his neighbor, as part of one’s duty toward God. By this beatitude, we do our duty, and, in the perfection of the beatitude, do it ardently, as a hungry and thirsty man eats and drinks ardently.” Father Dion, Keys to the Third Floor
or as I explained it to my children:
When you are very hungry, or very thirsty, you do anything you can to get some food or water. You wait in line at school, you help your family prepare a meal or set the table. And, as my ten-year-old son pointed out, sometimes you even sacrifice some time playing the Wii to have a snack!
So it is when we hunger and thirst for justice. Justice, or righteousness, is the desire to do God’s will. It is the recognition that we glorify God when we are obedient to those who instruct us in His ways. We glorify God when we do everything, even the most ordinary of tasks, for Him.
“Whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31
We must try to see God in everyone and in everything we do. Most of all, God wants our love for Him to shine as we complete our chores, help other people, or do something we don’t really enjoy doing.
“Do I do cheerfully everything God wants, when He wants it, in the best way I can?” Father Dion, Keys to the Third Floor
As I tell my children, “Do what we ask of you, the first time we ask, and finish the task completely.”
This is where Father Dion’s first two keys help us immensely.
“Do a good job always, to please God.”
“Say, ‘Thanks, God!’ for what He sends that you do not like.”
As Father Dion says, “Only then, when we have thanked God for what we do not like, can we be sure that our motive in doing what we do is solely to please Him.”
Thanking God for that which we do not like helps us to live on the third floor of faith. It reveals our trust in His love and mercy that works always for our good.
Tell your children a story about a time in your life that was difficult, but bore good fruit. Encourage them in their daily trials. Have patience, and be the one who can help them grow in virtue and holiness, even through their worst moments. And as you struggle with your children through their trials, don’t forget to thank God for giving you the opportunity to continually grow towards living on the third floor of faith.