For the Beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, how is that supposed to be interpreted? I’ve looked online and I haven’t really found a solid answer. Does it mean dealing with depression and the like?
I’ve always understood it as blessed are those who are humble and trust completely in God.
Like Jesus, who stripped himself of his glory, and came to us in the form of a servant; we too shall be humble in spirit, with a sense of lowliness, of our own limitations and existential poverty.
Luke 6 offers some insight. Three beatitudes are offered, and then three corresponding warnings are offered. The beatitude about those who (as the gospel of Matthew puts it) are “poor in spirit”:
Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.
And four verses later, it’s corresponding warning:
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
So I think this beatitude is about those who are not greedy and do not desire wealth or power. It’s not necessarily condemning wealth, but it’s condemning the love of wealth and power. Those who have it, and wanted it, have already gotten their reward.
Basically, we’re supposed to be detached from worldly things. Not necessarily physically separated (although for some, like St. Francis of Assisi, this was the case), but detached.
I appreciate the rapid answers. Based on the replies it looks like I completely misinterpreted what it meant. I had literally viewed it as something for those such as myself who suffer psychological problems like depression/anxiety and the like.
I think your interpretation is valid based on the perspective of your life experiences. God reveals himself to us where we are. I’ve experienced depression and I still have moments of anxiety. In the midst of these episodes I find comfort in this beatitude because it reminds me that everything is in God’s hands and he will see me through. This humble acceptance of God’s mercy and belief in his inherent goodness is what I believe it means to be poor in spirit.
If it helps, I think that also falls under “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
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