Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Security

( Realization )

The ‘poor in spirit’ refers to:

a) Those whose hearts are detached from worldly riches; who make good use of riches should they have any; who do not seek them eagerly, if they have none; and who suffer the loss of such things with resignation when deprived of them.

b) Those who know that they cannot save themselves, who recognise their faults and failings. Unlike the rich and honourable who think themselves in good condition, those who recognise their deep soul poverty will find strength in God who will in turn shower them with his blessings.

The word, "poor," in Hebrew is anavim or anawim. Behind this word is a long, revealing history. Before the Babylonian captivity (587- 538 BCE), anavim referred only to the economically poor, but during and after the exile it developed a larger meaning. Scripture calls Israel the anavim of Yahweh, "the poor of God." Israel is God's poor because the people of Israel are homeless: without Temple, country, army, wealth, dignity. Left with nothing on which they had learned to rely, the people realize their need for God. This is what "poor in spirit" meant to Jesus' hearers. A spiritual life begins with such a realization; it is only from this most basic point that spirituality can develop.