Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gospel Values: Poor In Spirit

Last night, at the CRHP meeting, we did an exercise entitled "How do I live by Gospel values?" This is my second time through formation, but the first time I've seen this activity. Truthfully, I hadn't prepared for it (having other responsibilities at last night's meeting), and so I first looked it over during the meeting's discussion time.

Initially, a few of the questions jumped out at me as being appropriate for a friend of mine. I made a mental note to send her an email about it, which I did this morning. As I was typing the email to her, I found myself noticing the questions, considering them in relation to my life, and deciding to do a series of blog posts on these Beatitude-inspired questions.

Happy are those who know they are Spiritually Poor
  • Have you come to the place where you can admit to others that you don't have all the answers?

  • Can you admit that you have needs?

  • Can you admit that you need the Lord and others?

  • Are you able to let others know where you are "spiritually poor"?

  • Can you admit mistakes without blaming others?

  • Can you genuinely rejoice when others receive what you would like?

In the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus gives us the Beatitudes, he phrased it like this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." (Mt. 5:3)

As I look over these questions, one virtue jumps out at me: humility. To be truly poor in spirit, to gain the kingdom of Heaven, I need to humble myself. Am I willing to do that, to admit that I don't have all the answers, to ask for help when I need it?

If I am being honest, I need to admit that I am not doing this. I am learning -- slowly -- to admit that I don't have all the answers. But I struggle mightily with asking for help, admitting that I have needs, admitting that I can't do it all on my own. DH knows this. Again and again, he reminds me that I am not in this marriage alone, that I have a partner who will happily step in and help me, if I just let him.

Am I able to let others know where I am spiritually poor? Well, maybe, a few trusted friends, but certainly not everyone. I do my best to project a calm, confident, in-control persona to most of the world, most of the time. Those people who have seen me crabby and wrinkled are definitely within the "circle of trust." But that's not really what I am called to in this teaching, is it? I am called to vulnerability, even (perhaps especially?) when I most want to project false confidence.

Can I admit mistakes without blaming others? Does that include blaming the children for my lack of sleep and subsequent crankiness? Does it include blaming the weather for cabin fever and my subsequent crankiness? Does it include blaming the latest cold virus for my general malaise and subsequent crankiness?

And that final question: can I genuinely rejoice when others receive what I would like? How I wish I could answer that question with a resounding "yes!" I am reminded of the Litany of Humility, which I have prayed at different times. It's been a few months now since I've been willing to go there, but maybe I need to put that one back into the prayer rotation.

The exercise asked us to evaluate ourselves in each Beatitude: weak, weak but growing, needs attention, or have really grown. I think my grade for Poor in Spirit would have to be weak, but willing to grow.

No comments:

Post a Comment