The poor in spirit

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Halfway down the week in my recent change of routine, this painting, The Poor Poet by Carl Spitzweg (1839) appeals to me. A distressed poet has apparently found refuge in a miserable attic, where he can get away from everyday life and its pain, the material shortages, to be an Idealist and indulge the psychical aspects of life.

Matthew 5:2-12
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
5 "Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
7 "Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall receive mercy.
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,
for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

To be poor in the spirit is to be humble, to acknowledge that we are sinners with no righteousness of our own. It is to be willing to be saved only by the grace and mercy of God; to be willing to where God places us, to bear what he lays on us, to go where he bids us. We face doom when we think we are rich in spirit, when we are proud, when we think we know it all. To be poor in spirit is to listen to God and to our brethren, to offer ourselves for use to God and to our brethren for the benefit of the body of Christ.


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