"Blessed are the poor in spirit"

Kissing feet of Jesus Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Below are excerpts from various online sources. Please follow the links if you wish to read the entire text from which these were excerpted.

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." In Isaiah 55: 1-2

bullet "To be poor in spirit is to recognize that all we have is God’s gift: our very existence, our families, our health, our talents, our situations in life. And Christ goes even further - even our successes. For he tells us that when we have done everything commanded of us we are still to remember that we are unprofitable servants (Lk 17:10). For only by God’s grace can we do anything to deserve everlasting life. We even pray under the impulse of the Holy Spirit (Rm 8:26-27; Mt 10:20)." -- from Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs (Mt 5:3) - Holy Cross Family Ministry

bullet "In our more honest moments, we recognize our profound neediness, our intellectual limitations, our spiritual inadequacy, our moral failures. In our helplessness, we turn to God. Our response of gratitude and trust, itself a grace, means that the kingdom of heaven is ours." -- God in our Midst - The Beatitudes' Promises - By Bishop Robert F. Morneau

bullet "The religious attitude of poverty is closely related to what is called "spiritual childhood." A Christian sees himself as a little child in the presence of God, a child who owns nothing: everything he has comes from God and belongs to God" -- from Bible Study - Cycle A - 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

bullet "Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Keep us from being preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of justice." -- from Dialogued Prayer on the Beatitudes

bullet "Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." To find happiness, we detach ourselves from desires for things of this earth that do not last, and we place our trust in God, making use of the things of this earth, but only for his glory. And if we truly live this Beatitude, then we voluntarily make ourselves poor by making sacrifices of our time, our skills, and our wealth on behalf of others." -- from Homily from Fr. Paul D. Williams Jr. - Ordinary Time 4 A

bullet "For us, this means two things. First, God does not need us to do anything special in order to work with us. We can be poor in spirit, we don’t need to run after wealth or power. It’s OK to be in the background and live the simple life. It’s OK to struggle to get along, to be dependent on God." -- from Homily from Fr. Shelby - Ordinary Time 4 A

bullet "Am I humble enough to acknowledge my total dependence on God? Am I able to admit
to others that I don’t have all the answers? Can I admit mistakes without blaming
others?" -- from Rite for Reconciliation of Several Penitents With Individual Confession and Absolution

bullet "Spiritual poverty recognizes that all we have and all we are is a total gift from God. We are totally dependent on God, a good and loving God, who is in charge of the universe and of our lives. We should not horde what we have been given as gifts. Rather, we should use our talents, intelligence, possessions, and the like to help others." -- from The Beatitudes - by Father Kleppner

bullet "The word poor seems to represent an Aramaic `ányâ (Hebr. `anî), bent down, afflicted, miserable, poor; while meek is rather a synonym from the same root, `ánwan (Hebr. `ánaw), bending oneself down, humble, meek, gentle. Some scholars would attach to the former word also the sense of humility; others think of "beggars before God" humbly acknowledging their need of Divine help." -- from The Eight Beatitudes - Catholic Encyclopedia

bullet "To be 'poor in spirit' is to come to grips with a crucial, yet disturbing fact. It is the very painful recognition of my spiritual condition before God. I might have been made for a garden but I’m living in a desert! Of my own making!" -- from Jesus, Religion, and True Spirituality: A Look at Four Beatitudes by Greg Herrick, Ph.D.


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bullet "Blessed are those who are convinced of their basic dependency on God, whose lives are emptied of all that doesn't matter, those for whom the riches of this world just aren't that important. The kingdom of God is theirs." -- from A Reflection on the Beatitudes

bullet "Forgive me, Lord, for being too concerned about myself, for being too dependent on possessions, for failing to respond to the needs of poor brothers and sisters, for not trusting in your providence." -- from An examination of conscience using the Beatitudes by Fr Tom Groenewold

bullet "The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfil the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven." (C.C.C. # 1716)

bullet We recognize our need for God. We depend on God. The poor in spirit know that God is more important than anything else in life. -- from Living the Beatitudes - Holy Name School in San Francisco, California

bullet "The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to 'preach good news to the poor'; [Luke 4:18; cf. Luke 7:22.] he declares them blessed, for 'theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'[Matthew 5:3.] To them - the 'little ones' the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. [Cf. Matthew 11:25.] Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. [Cf. Matthew 21:18; Mark 2:23-26; John 4:6 1; John 19:28; Luke 9:58.] Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom. [Cf. Matthew 25:31-46.]" C.C.C #544

bullet A Lucky Poor
Blessed are the poor in spirit"

A beech tree in winter, white
Intricacies unconcealed
Against sky blue and billowed
Clouds, carries in his emptiness
Ripeness: sap ready to rise
On signal, buds alert to burst
To leaf. And then after a season
Of summer a lean ring to remember
The lush fulfilled promises.
Empty again in wise poverty
That let's the reaching branches stretch
A millimetre more towards heaven,
The bole expand ever so slightly
And push roots into the firm
Foundation, lucky to be leafless:
Deciduous reminder to let it go.

-- From Holy Luck by Eugene H. Peterson, Theology Today - Vol 44, No.1 - April 1987

bullet "Blessed are the poor in spirit ... This refers to those who rely on God, putting their lives in God's hands and trusting in God's love for them. To be poor in spirit means to depend on God for everything. It means asking God for anything, at any time, knowing that God will respond. It means that we do not despair, but rather recognize our poverty and the need for God in our life. Worrying becomes obsolete because we believe that all things are possible with God." -- from St. Ignatius, Martyr, Church - Beatitudes Homily - Fr. Joe Tomei, CSC

bullet "Without poverty of spirit, none of us can begin to follow Christ. What does poverty of spirit mean? It is my awareness that I cannot save myself, that I am defenseless, that neither money nor power will spare me from suffering and death. It is my awareness that I desperately need God's help and mercy. It is stepping away from the rule of fear in one's life, fear being the great force that restrains us from acts of love. Being poor in spirit means becoming free of the myth that possessing many things will make me a happier person. It is an attitude expressed in a French proverb: 'When you die, you carry in your clutched hand only that which you have given away.'" -- from The Ladder of the Beatitudes - by Jim Forest - this text was subsequently expanded into book form: "Ladder of the Beatitudes" published by Orbis.


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