The Ladder of the Beatitudes

Jim Forest

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"The Beatitudes were originally words for ordinary people, for everyone and anyone. Drawing on a wide range of readings from the Desert Fathers to Dorothy Day, Jim Forest re-captures these words for today's world. This is no escapist spirituality, but tough, real, and relevant to a world of suffering, fear, and confusion." -Esther de Waal, author of The Way of Simplicity

"In The Ladder of the Beatitudes, Jim Forest leads the reader on an ascent through levels of meaning, vividly illustrated with stories from the whole history of the Church." -Frederica Matthewes-Green

Drawing on stories from the lives of the saints, scripture, and everyday life, Jim Forest opens the mysteries of the Beatitudes with which Christ began his Sermon on the Mount. Each Beatitude is explained as an aspect of our communion with God and, as Forest shows, each Beatitude leads to the next like an ascent of the rungs of a ladder. Appearing at the beginning of the New Testament, they provide a summary of all that follows including the crucifixion ("Blessed are you who are persecuted") and the resurrection ("Rejoice and be glad.")

Jim Forest is editor of the quarterly journal, In Communion, and secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. He served for twelve years as General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. His earlier books include Praying with Icons, Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton and Confession. He lives in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.