GeE 67-68: The Poor In Spirit

See the source imageThe first Beatitude reads:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Few things are as countercultural in today’s world than the thought: wealth is meaningless.

67. The Gospel invites us to peer into the depths of our heart, to see where we find our security in life. Usually the rich feel secure in their wealth, and think that, if that wealth is threatened, the whole meaning of their earthly life can collapse. Jesus himself tells us this in the parable of the rich fool: he speaks of a man who was sure of himself, yet foolish, for it did not dawn on him that he might die that very day (cf. Luke 12:16-21).

68. Wealth ensures nothing. Indeed, once we think we are rich, we can become so self-satisfied that we leave no room for God’s word, for the love of our brothers and sisters, or for the enjoyment of the most important things in life. In this way, we miss out on the greatest treasure of all. That is why Jesus calls blessed those who are poor in spirit, those who have a poor heart, for there the Lord can enter with his perennial newness.

“Poor in spirit,” and what does that mean? The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius counsel a middle and detached way from wealth and poverty, among other things:

For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.

I would think a Jesuit would count this kind of detachment as “poor in spirit.” Certainly it is a virtue that opens one to the entry of the Lord Jesus into one’s life with that “perennial newness.”

You can check the full document Gaudete et Exsultate on the Vatican website.

 

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Gaudete et Exsultate and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to GeE 67-68: The Poor In Spirit

  1. Liam says:

    Some further background on the Greek word πτωχοὶ translated as “the poor” here:

    http://biblehub.com/greek/4434.htm

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