The phrase “lift up your eyes” occurs in many places in Scripture. By this expression, the divine Word admonishes us to exalt and lift up our thoughts. It invites us to elevate the insight that lies below in a rather sickly condition and is stooped and completely incapable of looking up. For instance, it is written in Isaiah, “Lift up your eyes on high and see. Who has made all these things known?”
The Savior too, when he is about to deliver the Beatitudes, lifts up his eyes to the disciples and says “blessed” are such and such.1
Let us see how St. Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four. We know that there are four cardinal virtues: temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude. One who is poor in spirit is not greedy. One who weeps is not proud but is submissive and tranquil. One who mourns is humble. One who is just does not deny what he knows is given jointly to all for us. One who is merciful gives away his own goods. One who bestows his own goods does not seek another’s, nor does he contrive a trap for his neighbor. These virtues are interwoven and interlinked, so that one who has one may be seen to have several, and a single virtue befits the saints. Where virtue abounds, the reward too abounds.… Thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice has compassion, patience has peace, and endurance has gentleness.2
[H]e condemns not those who have riches but those who do not know how to use them. The pauper is more praiseworthy who gives with eager compassion and is not restrained by the bolts of looming scarcity. He thinks that he who has enough for nature does not lack. So the rich person is the more guilty who does not give thanks to God for what he has received, but vainly hides wealth given for the common use and conceals it in buried treasures. Then the offense consists not in the wealth but in the attitude.3
- COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 13.274–77. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 104). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.62–63, 68. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 104). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.69. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 105). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.