Monthly Reflection July 2019 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’
The First Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Who are the poor in spirit? Why is the kingdom of heaven theirs?
The answer behind these two questions rests upon the spiritual meaning which Jesus taught during the Sermon on the Mount. The answer is not found through the literal meaning of each word, but in the spiritual, divine meaning relating to a person’s response to God’s calling. This calling of God to the human being asks of him to recognize his spiritual poverty before going to Him to be able to receive through faith the salvation He offers. This Beatitude asks of the human being to recognize that God is God.
To be poor in spirit is to recognize that you totally depend upon God; to recognize that you are nothing and God is all. To be poor in spirit is to empty oneself, that is, to become nothingness and depend totally on God. So if you happen to be a wealthy person, in a very good financial situation, in the spiritual realm you need to become nothing. You need to recognize and acclaim that although you are a wealthy person, you still depend totally on God. Your attitude should not be that of seeking to be close to God because you are wealthy, but that you grow close to God, because God is God.
On the other hand, if you happen to be a poor person, being in a difficult financial situation, you too need to become nothingness in your particular situation. You need not envy a rich person or desire to become rich. You are to accept your situation of being a poor person, and in that situation you draw close to God, not for the sake of seeking comfort from God, but because God is God.
This is the way to be poor in spirit: to become nothing, knowing that you totally depend upon God. The person who is poor in spirit, recognizes his smallness in front of God, and recognizes that God is everything in his life.
This is a challenge in today’s life as every day the Christian’s spirituality is bombarded by worldly ideas through the different social media. In the midst of all these voices, we are to recognize that we totally depend on God; we are to empty ourselves and let God penetrate our heart.
… for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Isn’t it great that people are blessed because they choose to be poor in spirit? The result of being blessed is that the kingdom of heaven is theirs. So, what is the kingdom of heaven?
The kingdom of heaven is the gift of salvation. It is the gift for all who are poor in spirit. This gift was brought to us by the loving act of Jesus… that of dying on the cross for our sins. It is precisely in front of the cross that people are to recognize their sins, to recognize that Christ is the saviour who redeemed us from our sins. It is Jesus on the cross that made it possible for us to be redeemed from our sins. We must increase our faith in what Jesus did for us through his death on the cross.
Upon recognizing our sins, our weaknesses, recognizing that Christ is the saviour… the gift of salvation is ours. It is at this point in our faith that the kingdom of heaven already becomes ours, even as from here on earth.
(this reflection is taken from my Christian Book ‘The Beatitudes… the blessings from the Sermon on the Mount’)
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In Peace and Unity,
George Calleja (Christian Author)