We have been hearing a lot from Pope Francis lately about poverty and “poor in spirit”. In world of so many possessions and self seeking, his words help move us toward the gospel love and light of truth that has always been there but sometimes remains hidden. There is a great need to look at the tragic poverty in the world today and rectify it. There is no room for doubt on this. But, I have also been reflecting more deeply lately on what it means to have poverty of spirit. While reading the book “Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word”, I came across this beautiful reminder:
“What is omitted by the Lord in the beatitudes is as striking as what he actually says, because the omissions run contrary to our habitual religious expectations and once again awaken us to conversion. The Lord does not say: ‘Blessed are those who pray, give alms, fast…Blessed are the pious, those who attend church frequently, read Sacred Scripture and books of theology and spirituality…’ All of these are works, whose efficacy and merit wholly depend on the spirit in which they are performed, on the poverty of spirit that determines their whole intentionality and reason-for-being”. (Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, by Erasmos Merikakis, p. 188).
The true living of the beatitudes brings us to a fundamental way of living: loving in the most selfless way possible, to love so that “the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing”. It means loving in a way that generates service, a treasure of self emptying. It is through poverty of spirit makes our hearts so rich!!