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In ancient Greek medicine, eight conditions of human illness are recognized. Each of the eight beatitudes describe one of these extreme conditions. The first four Beatitudes are based on an absence of air, water, fire and earth. The second four center on an excess, in the same order: air, water, fire and earth.
The first Beatitudes, each exhibiting an absence of one of the four elements, illustrate aspects of our personal relationship with God. By contrast, the second four focus on an overflow of these same elements. The excess of these elements are illustrated in four attributes which affect others, allowing us to share with those around us the benefits of a restored relationship with God.