Finnegan Fieldhouse buzzed with excitement Sunday evening as hundreds of students prepared to listen to famous author and speaker the Rev. Jacques Philippe, CB.
Since French is Philippe’s first and preferred language, laywoman Maria Masterson translated his lecture for the English-speaking crowd.
“Poverty of heart is like a gate to the kingdom,” said Philippe, translated by Masterson, on the beatitudes in Matthew 5.
He said that the beatitudes are all connected to two things: poverty and peace.
According to Philippe, poverty leads to peace, and peace is from God. When we are poor in spirit, he said, we cry out to God, and he comes to us.
Philippe also demonstrated how the specific order of the beatitudes, which starts with poverty and ends with peace, points to deeper realities in the spiritual life.
“(The poor in heart) will receive all the treasures of the kingdom of heaven,” Philippe said. These treasures are “the goods that Christ gives, he who is the prince of peace. … The kingdom of God is the place where God’s peace reigns in men’s hearts.”
Philippe said of Matthew 5:3, “It’s not just about every kind of poverty, but it’s about poverty of heart — this humble, gentle, merciful heart that the beatitude speaks about.”
Several times he made use of funny metaphors, causing the crowd and himself to break out into laughter.
After speaking, Philippe personally greeted students.
“I’m very happy to be here with all these young people,” said Philippe. “I’m very happy to come and discover (Franciscan University of Steubenville). … I find (your faith) very encouraging for the Church. I hope my presence here is a blessing for everyone, and it will also be a blessing for me.”
“His talk was amazing,” said the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR. “(Philippe) seemed to be filled with a deep peace.”
“I thought it was very well put together,” said Daniel Heffernan, senior. “Father’s talk was excellent.”
Evening and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours were prayed in common before and after the lecture. Philippe also spoke Tuesday during Praise and Worship.