Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5] This is more than realizing your own frailty and recognizing your need for God's mercy [as the theologians conclude].

The poor in spirit sell what they have and give to the poor. They forsake all they have to follow Christ. His cause is preeminent, not theirs. 

They render unto no man evil for evil; rather they turn the other cheek and suffer themselves to be defrauded. They love not only those who love them, but as Christ, they also love those who hate them.

They are valiant for truth upon the earth and regard not the consequences, loving not their own lives even to the death; for to them: to live is Christ, to die is gain. 

The poor in spirit recognize the good portion, what is needful, as did Mary and are satisfied. They do not seek an easier way or more comfortable life than the one Jesus had; not that it would be possible to be poorer in spirit than Christ, but they humble themselves. They love not their father or mother, brother or sister, wife and children, friends and possessions, or their own life, more than Jesus; they are not offended; there is no root of bitterness in them; neither do they despise others. 

The poor in spirit are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor; yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things; they are surrendered, and yet more than conquerors; They look to the poor Christ who, though He was rich, yet came He into this world not to be served but to serve; not to live His life, but to give it; who, though He would have been just to be first, made Himself to be last; who would have been kind to only give us commands, but He gave us examples. 

The poor in spirit look to Him who’s beard was ripped out and face was spit upon, whose sacred head was crowned with thorns and was nailed to the tree and crucified for love of them, to redeem them, yea, they verily strive to follow in His steps.

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160