Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5: 3
The poor in spirit are described as blessed because they are receptive to the gifts of God.
Many Christians treasure the beatitudes because they see them as the antithesis of the values and systems that prevail in the world. Here and there people are of the opinion that God is on the side of the successful, the affluent, and the strong. Our Bible text makes it clear, however, that
God is on the side of the poor, the weak, and the suffering. It would be too simplistic to see the beatitude from this perspective alone, however.
Rather, it is intended to clearly express that salvation can never be achieved through our own endeavour or merit, but that God promises salvation to those who are humble and who realise that they need help. These words concerning the “poor in spirit” are also to be understood in this sense. They warn us not to adopt a false sense of security or act as those who think they know better and consider themselves clever.
It is not to human wisdom, but rather to the poor in spirit, that the mystery of God is revealed. This mystery is comprised of:
- the message of the cross,
- our calling and election, and
- our resurrection and transformation on the day of the Lord.