The King James translators called them beatitudes. Jesus taught them on an ancient hillside; a preacher who practiced what He preached. He casts a vision of a people who are salt in a tasteless world; bonfires in dark valleys.
This is not a to-do list for highly motivated and disciplined people. The beatitudes mostly describe circumstances where we are powerless to do anything but pray and seek God.
The Franciscan priest Richard Rohr describes Jesus’ list of virtues this way:
The Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3 - 12) offer us a more spacious world, a world where I do not have to explain everything, fix everything, or control anything beyond myself, a world where we can allow a Larger Mystery to work itself out through us and in us. These things are done to us more than anything we can do. The Beatitudes are about changing me, not changing other people. Wonderfully, it is not about being right anymore. Who can fully do the Beatitudes “right”? It is about being in right relationship, which is a very different agenda.[i]