Today’s Gospel gives us St Luke’s version of the Beatitudes: ‘And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets”’.

St Ambrose said of the first Beatitude: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, says He, because for them is the kingdom of heaven. This bliss was first placed by both evangelists. It is indeed the first according to order, and as mother and generator of virtues: for it is by despising the goods of the world that the eternals will be deserved; and no one can obtain the reward of the kingdom of heaven, if, captive to the lust of this world, he is unable to emerge from it’.

Poverty of spirit is closely allied to the virtue of humility. Dom Paul Delatte OSB comments: ‘The point is, then, that we must not lose God, as we shall do by exaltation, that we must remain attached to Him, as a child to its mother’s breast, so as to live by Him and to grow in Him; and this is the work of humility. “Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven”. Do you really want God? Do you wish to go to Him rapidly and surely and to attain the glorious exaltation of heaven? If so you must renounce the false exaltation of the present life and consent to be humble. Humility, it would seem, makes us descend to the confines of nothingness; and yet it is in its depths that we encounter the fulness of being. So it is more truly an ascension, for the final term of this abasement is really a lofty summit i.e., God. Therefore we must make of our lives and actions a sort of ladder of humility; we must erect the ladder of Jacob’.

So, today, let us listen to the voice of Christ in our hearts, calling us to follow Him in the way of the Beatitudes. May He bless you in this, and draw you ever closer to Himself.