Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blessed Are the Humble Hearted

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" In his book the Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, Father Robert Spitzer describes this beatitude as "Blessed are the Humble-Hearted"- this is a fundamental interior attitude which is embedded in the heart. It is one of the virtues of how Jesus viewed love, characterized by two things: placing the needs of others before our own and recognizing our proper place in the grand scheme of things.
I received a thank you note in the mail yesterday from one of the children that I sponsor. I had forgotten that I had sent a donation recently. Frankly the note was uplifting because I am struggling with the current economic conditions as many are. It read, "thank you very much for supporting my niece Melissa, with it(your donation) they got eggs, milk, beans, rice, cereal, soap, sugar, lentils, etcetera." The whole message of the Gospel is to turn things upside down. Most of us including myself view the world, and for that matter the universe, in terms of how it relates to me. All life and matter center around ourselves. While I am worried about how to make the next dollar there are children starving to death, living in the kind of poverty that you and I will never know. That is why the first and foremost understanding of the life Christ desires us to live is a philosophical understanding, Christ describes it in Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life

This translates to " your life is not about you", an extremely difficult idea to grasp. It was in Christ's time and it is even more difficult today. I believe that's why it is the first beatitude. It is impossible to live a life not centered on ourselves without God's grace, utterly impossible. There is no logical reason to care about a child living in Honduras whose only thought this morning when he or she awakened, was if they were going to eat today. This Advent we await the Coming of Our Saviour, the One who brings Hope to the entire world. We can only truly recognize this if we center our lives on God and everyone else but ourselves, which is precisely the two commandments necessary as prescribed by Jesus.
This Advent reflect on "turning your world upside down," by first viewing life in different terms, see the sufferings of others, before your own discomforts or inconveniences, and please think about those living in poverty, surrender yourself, give up a meal out or a Christmas gift. Make room in the Inn of your soul for the those in need, for food and a place to stay like the expectant mother so many years ago.

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