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Pope Francis reflects on poverty of spirit from first beatitude


During the General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the beatitudes. He focused especially on the first one, which speaks of the need for poverty of spirit.

The pope said being poor in spirit means accepting one's shortcomings and being able to ask forgiveness. He said the opposite of this is thinking one is self-sufficient, which he said is not the way to God's kingdom.  


SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY  

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, we consider the first of the eight proclamations: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). Matthew’s account, unlike Luke’s, speaks of the “poor in spirit.” Here “spirit,” recalling the breath of life that God gave to Adam, refers to the most intimate part of our being. The poor in spirit sense their poverty and dependency on God at this innermost level, whereas the proud of heart regard themselves as self-sufficient, hating whatever reminds them of the fragility of the human condition.

To be poor in spirit is to be aware of our frailty, to accept our mistakes and be able to ask forgiveness. This then becomes an occasion of grace leading us to God’s kingdom. In contrast to worldly power, God’s strength is seen in loving mercy. Christ himself shows this by preferring the good of others, even to the point of shedding his blood for us. We will be blessed if we both accept the poverty of our being, and strive to imitate the poverty of Jesus in loving service of our neighbor.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Australia, Vietnam and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!