The Poor in Spirit

The Feast of All Saints often brings with it the Beatitudes, beautiful words that Jesus preached on a mountain top or on the plains, depending on which gospel you read. On this All Saints Day I read the words with the same yearly dread and unease. For me, the Beatitudes read like a laundry list of what I am not. (Even as I write this, on some level I know that this is another sign of my sick obsession with my faults and failings.) Nevertheless, I read this to-do list for how to inherit the kingdom and can check none of these off as completed, done. Striving for…maybe…on my good days…seeking…for sure…the desire for…definitely.

I seek out a friend to help me put it all in the proper perspective. I know that Macrina Wiederkehr has a section on the Beatitudes in her book, Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers and Reflections. Here in fact I find the most amazing prayer, The Prayer of the Beatitude, for a seeker, a desirer, a striver like me:

Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God

O Christ of the Poor in Spirit

They have no light of their own

No wealth of their own

Yet because of your glory

Shining within them

They will be known in the Kingdom of God.

O Christ of the Poor in Spirit

Create in my crowded heart

A space for God.

I stop and think. What would that look like in my own life? Does it mean giving away all my possessions and living in literal poverty? That doesn’t seem to make sense for me. I share the duties of head of household and have responsibilities to those in my care. It may, however, mean that I not allow myself to become possessed by the trappings of our life, letting the wants, the have to haves and the shoulds take me over. Why is it that when we look back on the best time, the happiest time in our lives, we recall most often the point at which we were living the most simply. I know I think of that first one-bedroom apartment with the handed-down sofa covered in a sheet and the little television resting on a cardboard box. It was a sparse time but a simple time and looking back, I also sense its freedom.

I also know that when the needs were greater, I was relieved of this illusion that I am self-sufficient, proficient and in need of no one. Somehow this illusion grows exponentially with material wealth and possessions. And when I was closer to that “one-pay-check-away-from-disaster” reality I had more compassion for those in similar positions. So, even though I don’t feel I qualify for Jesus’ praise as one who is poor is Spirit, I do desire those qualities. I want to dig and dig until there is the deepest, darkest space for God within me

About lchavez64

Seeker. Dreamer. Ordinary girl.

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