Poor is a word that speaks of not having much, usually, of not having enough. It is insufficient. Lacking what is necessary. I think of poor people who lack food, housing, and finances. I think of poor soil that is unable to sustain healthy plant growth. Someone with poor judgment lacks wisdom and makes poor decisions. And there are those poor in spirit.
Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Does this mean lacking in spirit? Does this mean not having enough spirit? Does this mean spiritually insufficient? As I reflect on this passage, I realize that I understand little of its full mystery and meaning. It is an experiential passage. A passage that says there is the experience of being poor in spirit and that those who have this experience have the kingdom of heaven.
Yesterday, I participated in a Taízé service; and during one of the meditations, I experienced what felt to me like poorness of spirit. I lack the vocabulary to describe this experience. I can only say that my experience of poorness was spiritually rich. This is a paradox of the mysterious kingdom.
In my experience of poorness, I saw my lack, my insufficiency, my not having enough of what is spiritually necessary. And yet, somewhere in the middle of it all, a moment of richness came to me. My soul was assured that my very poorness meant that I belonged with Jesus. My lack, my insufficiency, my poorness—all belong to this full-of-meaning and mysterious kingdom. I am richly poor or poorly rich.
Here is my reflective question for the day: “What has been your experience of poor in spirit?"