Grace to you!
Here is the first Beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3).
You know, popular wisdom would say the opposite of the above. It would say something like "Blessed are the rich …" The whole idea of "money is everything."
A very wealthy friend once told me that what separates the greatest from the rest is that they know money doesn’t solve every problem. “Ideas go farther than cash.”
Concerning the first Beatitude, we might jump to the rash conclusion that the Lord Jesus was talking about material poverty. Not really. The qualifier is “in spirit.”
Many poor people are wealthy in spirit. Many wealthy people are poor in spirit. One could be poor in spirit whether materially poor or wealthy. It isn't about the material or economic poverty the Lord is referring to in the first Beatitude. It is deeper than this.
Poverty is a condition of insufficiency, isn't it? One can be said to be poor when the person lacks a thing and can't make up for the lack. We call them materially poor, those who lack the basic necessities of life like food, clothing, housing, car, etc.
How about "in spirit"? It's perhaps a situation where we realize we are not self-sufficient in terms of salvation. We are not self-sufficient when it comes to the ultimate goal of life. We are people always in need of God. We are dependent on God, for, without his grace, we can't achieve anything. As the Lord Jesus said, "As a branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains with the vine, so you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me. … Cut off from me, you can do nothing" (Jn 15:4-5). The acceptance of this truth is a sign of poverty of spirit.
I suggest another meaning of poverty of spirit. It is like a condition of a soul that realizes that no matter how blessed we may be, we are not better or superior to others. Our blessings are a privilege. As Saint Paul said, "what have we that has not been given to us?" (See I Corinthians 4:7).
To have these kinds of dispositions and grace is to have a pass to God's kingdom.
May I ask, when was the last time we dared confront our pride with the poverty of spirit? It is a blessing for us to do so.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, Week 10: 1 Kings 18:20-39; Matthew 5:17-19]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.