Lincoln’s Beatitudes

Lincoln Memorial statue.
Lincoln Memorial statue. (photo: CNS)

President Abraham Lincoln’s life embodied the Beatitudes.

That’s the assessment of Lincoln offered by Bishop Francis Malooly of Wlimington, Del., in a pastoral letter published in The Dialog, Wilmington’s diocesan newspaper, on Feb. 12, the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

Here’s an excerpt of what Bishop Malooly said, according to this Catholic News Service article:

Lincoln’s presidency was forged by his living the first two beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“When asked by his campaign biographer in the 1860 election to describe his early life, Lincoln replied that it could be found in a single sentence from Thomas Gray’s poetry: ‘The short and simple annals of the poor,’” Bishop Malooly said.

“Lincoln’s experience of poverty as well as the loss of his mother and sister while he was young forged wellsprings of strength and compassion that would be vital to his presidency,” he continued. “His simplicity, generous intentions and focus on the common good often helped him to discern effectively what was needed in a given crisis or historical crossroads.”