“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I want to continue a few small thoughts I started last night, as we had a bit of a conversation about the beatitudes at sol café. I have to confess that without really mentioning it, I was using these first six beatitudes as a bit of a lenten exercise. The first part of the beatitude is the lenten part, the second part of the beatitude is the Easter part.
We sometimes ask the question “what does ‘poor in spirit’ mean”, instead of asking “who are the poor in spirit?” While they are both important questions, it is the second which is more fundamental. For when we discover who is poor in spirit, we will see what it means. It is like the questions about the kingdom of heaven. We can ask what it is, or we can ask who it is.
The Kingdom is not primarily a what, it is a who. It is a Who. If Jesus is the founding member of this kingdom, and by extension invites us into citizenship, then Jesus is primarily the poor in spirit, and by extension invites us to become poor in spirit.
This Jesus emptied himself of his possessions – of his glory, of his status, of his rights, and of his life. He was poor in spirit and rich in love. He invites us to become poor in spirit – to empty our spirits of all those things we cling to as our “possessions”.