The daily Bible readings will be taken for the next weeks from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and the Gospel of Matthew. We begin the gospel texts with the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes where Jesus reminds us of the blessings which are ours. Note that we don’t create or produce our own blessings — they come as a gift from God. So we don’t become blessed by being poor in spirit, by mourning, by meekness. Rather, when we find ourselves (inevitably!) going through those kinds of experiences God gives us the blessing we need to get through them. St. Paul says something similar when he begins the epistle by using the word “encouragement” ten times to get us through tough times.