I am not a huge fan of Wikipedia. I think that goes back to my college days and not being allowed to use it as a reference, therefore discrediting in my mind. However, I have to say I am impressed on this definition of Beatitudes that they chose to use, so much so that I am going to paste it here as the beginning of our study of them.
The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative, “cryptic, precise, and full of meaning. Each one includes a topic that forms a major biblical theme”. Four of the blessings also appear in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke, followed by four woes which mirror the blessings.
The term beatitude comes from the Latin noun beātitūdō which means “happiness”. In the Vulgate (Latin), the book of Matthew titles this section Beatitudines, and “Beatitudes” was anglicized from that term.
Each Beatitude consists of two phrases: the condition and the result. In almost every case the condition is from familiar Old Testamentcontext, but Jesus teaches a new interpretation. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on a spirit of love and humility different in orientation than the usual force and exaction taken.