Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:3
A Songwriter once wrote: “New life, New life, you came to bring us New life. New life! New life! We find such joy In your abundant life!. You are the source of our great joy, the fountain of all life. We praise you Lord; we worship you! We thank you for your gift of new life!” Indeed, the new life which Jesus gives is opposed to the standard of the world. The New life is a life of humility, charity, faithfulness and total dependence of God. In the Beatitudes, Jesus presents the ways of life that enable us to possess the kingdom of heaven, which also guarantee peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations on earth. We are living in an age marked with decline in the consciousness of eternity; where believers are busy possessing the world at the risk of making heaven. Instead of poverty in the spirit we find pride; instead of mourners we find pleasure seekers; instead of meekness, superiority, instead of hunger for righteousness we find unholy quest for money; instead of mercy we find man’s inhumanity to man, instead of purity of heart we find corrupt imaginations, instead of peacemakers we find proponents of war and vengeance; instead of rejoicing in persecution we find compromise and adjustment to sin. At such a time when it seems that the “church” is becoming worldlier and holiness of life played down, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Beatitudes as the only standard of living which guarantees us heaven through divine grace. So in the coming days we should open up our minds and hearts to listen to what the Spirit is saying to us as regard the Beatitude.
Today, we shall reflect on the first of the eight Beatitudes “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Poor in the spirit means a true deep sense of nothingness before God. The foundation of all spiritual happiness is the consciousness of one’s emptiness and need for God. People who are “poor in spirit” are those who have realized that they have nothing in this life that can guarantee the kingdom of heaven except their dependence on God. They do not depend on material possession, no self-righteousness, no self-sufficiency. They are free from their own pretensions, and therefore they are free for God. Everyone who wishes to enter the kingdom must be “spiritually poor” for salvation is a gift from God.
To be poor in spirit has the same meaning with to be child-like. In Mark 10:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” They can be likened to little children who depend on their parents for everything. To be poor in spirit is to recognize our utter spiritual bankruptcy before God. It is only when we possess that child-like spirit of total dependence on God, that we can possess the kingdom of heaven.
Let us end today’s reflection with the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, a mystic who lived in Cappadocia, “To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God.” Indeed blessed are those who humbly recognize their need for God, for they will enter into his kingdom.“
- Thank the Lord for today’s reflection.
- Ask Jesus to forgive you for the times you did not depend on Him for your provisions.
- Take the Prayer “Stay with me O Lord by Padre Pio” in Section A (meditatively)
Exercise: Meditate on Philippians 2:1-11.
Memory Verse: Revelation 3:17