“Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is quite clear about who will go to heaven, so we explore what it means to be poor in spirit, and it has nothing to do with our bank accounts! God provides through Scripture the exact meaning of what it is to be poor in spirit, and the encouragement we all need to have that attitude as we grow closer to Jesus and learn, from Him, who the Father is.
Catechesis At Home – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A
Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
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Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
REFLECTION – Poor in Spirit
The phrase Poor in Spirit can be confusing, especially when taken out of context or the “in spirit” part is left off. When we hear the word “poor” in modern society we automatically think of people who have very little money, or material things. This meaning of poor is not what Jesus is talking about in this part of the Sermon on the Mount. We can gain more understanding of what it means to be “poor in spirit” from the first three readings this week.
The prophet Zephaniah speaks of those who are humble and lowly, who speak the truth, and rely on God. The Psalmist praises God who brings justice, loves those who are powerless, and weak, and again who rely on Him for their needs. St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians, congratulating them on being regular, hard-working people, whom God has chosen to be His own. God uses these lowly, meek, and powerless (according to society) to be His heralds, His Chosen Ones, to bring the Light of Christ to the world!
Jesus begins His Sermon on the Mount this week with the Beatitudes, which throws His listeners into confusion, because the exalts the people who most of society looks at with scorn – the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers. When we are poor in spirit it means we are relying on God, not ourselves or our own understanding to work out our problems or our salvation. Those who are poor in spirit can be materially wealthy or highly educated, but it’s harder to be humble when one has so much. Jesus challenges us to make Him our focus and not the things of this world. And rely on Him and His Father in heaven to lead us into grace and Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. By putting aside all the things that distract us from Him, we become “Poor in Spirit.”
DISCUSSION – Becoming Poor in Spirit
How do we rely on God? Discuss with your family this week how you can do this individually and as a group. How can we rely on Him more? Humility and acknowledging He is our Creator, He is our Savior, and He is our Advocate are some ways to begin.
ACTIVITY – Poor in Spirit, Strong in Love
Relying on God doesn’t mean we don’t work, or do our chores. But it does mean we approach those with a new heart – doing the work of the family as a gift, offering the things we do not like to do, for His glory and honor we are growing in the virtue of Charity. This Charity is the greatest virtue and the one that Jesus shows best through His Sacrifice on the Cross. He relied on His heavenly Father throughout His Passion, to give Him the strength to go through with it. Use His example to call upon the name of the Lord when there are hard things to do. And ask Him to give you the virtue of Charity to accomplish it.
DIG DEEPER – Other Poor in Spirit resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
TWMWU: The Jesus Prayer
TWMWU: God and Mammon
TWMWU: The Virtue of Humility
TWMWU: Words Matter
TWMWU: 1st Week of Lent – 40 Days in the Desert
Video: Encountering Christ in Your Everyday Life
Podcast: The Sacrament of Baptism – Episode 107
Podcast: Is Some Music Bad? – Episode 123
Podcast: The Sacred Role of Women in the Church – Episode 124
How do you remain Poor in Spirit?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
What is the difference between lust and love?
During this “season of Valentines” Beth and Kristofer cover this (often unknowingly) confusing and vitally important topic before we dive headlong into the pink and roses and hearts and whatnot.
Beth and Kristofer share how to tell the difference between lust and love, and how to teach that to impressionable minds and hearts.
And they do this in the context of Mortal Sin and Theological Virtue: Lust and Love, respectively.
They also, right out of the gate, point to Nick’s seven-part series about Love as a great resource on our web site for this discussion, which is linked to in the show notes.
Living in this world, but not of it, is difficult, and Beth and Kristofer offer us some pointers on how to do that, particularly in this day and age.
And, no, there is no inappropriate or “parental discretion advised” content in this episode.
But they do get attacked by a tree!