Not much sailing going on these days. I am on a streak of working 12 out of 14 days at the hospital. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for recreation. Oh, well!
So, I’ll take this non-sailing moment for a little pronunciation instruction. Many of our friends have little trouble with pronouncing the name of our sailing vessel, Beatitude, because they are familiar with the portion of the teachings of Jesus in his sermon on the mount known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12):
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
For those not so familiar with that context, there is a tendency to pronounce the b-e-a-t as one syllable. No, we are not beating anyone or anything (although, at times, like when I work 12 of 14 days, I feel beat.) Now, there is a sailing phrase known as “beating to windward” in which one takes a zig-zag course in order to head directly into the wind. But, no… we didn’t name it for that tactic. We hope to do very little beating into the wind over the next few years. We’d prefer that the wind be such as to take us directly to our destination. (I know… wishful thinking!)
Instead, the term comes from those pronouncements of blessing spoke of by Jesus in Matthew 7. “Beatitude,” which is pronounced “Bee-attitude,” refers to a state of supreme blessedness or happiness. This state, according to Christian teaching is only attainable by knowing and placing one’s trust in Christ. We may have some taste of that blessedness on earth, but the fullness of that state will only be experienced in heaven when we receive the “beatific vision.” St. Cyprian, the third century Christian bishop of Carthage, explained: “How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God… to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of Heaven with the righteous and God’s friends.”
So, we chose to name our boat “Beatitude” with this state of supreme blessedness in mind. We feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to live this life. It is not that living on a sailboat and sailing to far-off, exotic places in itself will bring one to that blissful state. But, it is an earthly blessing, no matter how insignificant in the eternal scheme of things, that prefigures the incomparable blessing to come. Our happiness experienced in sailing and visiting beautiful lands serves to remind us of that greater happiness which is only found in the presence of our God and Creator.
We wish all our friends and family supreme blessedness!