It’s the start of the traditional novena masses leading to the celebration of the birth of the Son of God. I decided to structure my reflections on the Beatitudes, the laws of love, in addition to the theme of the mass. There are eight of them so I figured I even have one day off.
Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is the first beatitude and one that I always had trouble understanding because of the phrase poor in spirit.
When I was in high school I once asked my teacher in my Christian Living subject why God is giving the kingdom of heaven to those people who lost their spirit, to the unhappy people. I got a C, for losing the translation. Apparently, someone is not poor because he/she lost something or lack something.
A person is poor because he/she is in need. For example, a person is poor in materials things if he needs to have those material things. If he doesn’t need those things then he cannot be poor material-wise. So, a person who is poor in spirit is the person who is in need of the Spirit, of God and the life He offers. The contrapositive form of this statement is equally true: He who does not need God cannot be poor in spirit. Then who can be welcomed in the kingdom of heaven? He who desperately need God, who depends on God, who can’t live without God. To be poor in spirit is the condition we must meet to enter the kingdom of God.
Our need controls us, calls the shot for us. Who and what would you rather have to call the shot for you?
Father, in the midst of all the things I possess, help me to be poor in spirit by keeping my life open to You, by putting my trust totally in You, and by holding you always as the most precious element in my life.