What does it mean to be poor in spirit? I had a student who once told me that this passage meant God didn’t want us to like ourselves too much. In the Gospel of Matthew, that section in chapter 5 typically known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are they who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). Being called to the vocation of priesthood or consecrated life requires poverty in spirit. But what exactly does that mean?
First, poverty in spirit is not self-pity or self-loathing. To be poor in spirit reflects back to the Old Testament notion of the “anawim” the little ones. God takes pity on Israel as His anawim, his little ones whom he loves. Israel’s poverty is also its greatest treasure, since relying on God for everything also means that God provides for all their needs. Poverty in spirit is this fundamental recognition that everything comes from God, therefore, the one who recognizes their life as a gift given by God already begins to live the blessedness of the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
What a liberating freedom to know that we belong to the Lord, despite our inadequacies, imperfections and defects! He chooses us! A vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life requires a special dependence on God. This form of spiritual poverty allows the one discerning a vocation to have the space and freedom they need to follow the Lord wherever He may lead.
Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). Blessed are we who trust in Him and follow Him where ever he may lead us!
Blessed are the poor in spirit…Published February 11, 2011 Catholic , Discerning Men , Discerning Women , Educators & Youth Leaders , eVangelizer , General , Inspiration , Parents , Uncategorized , Vocation Directors Leave a Comment
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