Pope Francis greets the faithful February 5 at the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall

Updated: At General Audience, Pope reminds rulers of “true” power: “fraternity, charity, love, humility”

Pope Francis reflected on the Beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” as he continued today his catechesis on the Beatitudes during the weekly General Audience.

In his catechesis on the first Beatitude — “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” — Pope Francis said:

“There is a poverty that we must accept, that of our own being; and a poverty that we must seek instead, from the things of this world”.

A paradoxical proclamation

Jesus’ “way to happiness”, the Pope said, begins with a “paradoxical proclamation… a strange object of bliss”. So we must ask ourselves, What is meant by the word “poor”? Matthew’s use of the expression “poor in spirit” shows us that Jesus is not talking simply about economic poverty, but of a spiritual understanding of our poverty. “Those who are ‘poor in spirit’”, the Pope said, “are those who are and who feel themselves to be poor, beggars, in the depths of their being”.

This is contrary to the message of the world, which tells us we have to make something of ourselves.

This attitude leads to “loneliness and unhappiness”, because it sets us in competition with others, so that we “live in obsessive concern for [our own] ego”.

Jesus, though, tells us that “to be poor is an occasion of grace, and He shows us the way out” of the fatigue caused by trying to hide our limitations and failings.

Related:  Faithful to return to Pope's General Audiences September 2 in first sign of Vatican recovery post-COVID-19

We are already poor

Pope Francis said, though, that we must remember that we “don’t have to transform ourselves to become poor in spirit, because we are already poor! We are all poor in spirit, beggars”.

The kingdoms of the world, possessed by those who have wealth and comfort, are kingdoms that end.

“The power of human beings, even the greatest empires, passes and disappears”, the Pope said.

On the contrary, it is the one “who knows how to love the true good more than himself” who truly reigns. This, he said, “is the power of God”; and this is how Christ shows Himself to be powerful:

“He knew how to do what the kings of the earth do not: to give His life for human beings. And this is true power: the power of fraternity, the power of charity, the power of love, the power of humility. This is what Christ did”.

And, the Pope continued, “true freedom lies in this: the one who has this power of humility, of service, of fraternity is free. The poverty praised by the Beatitudes lies at the service of this freedom”.

Related:  In new book, Pope gives sneak peek of forthcoming encyclical, rails against "savage market economy" and "violent social injustice"

He concluded his catechesis by saying “we must always seek this freedom of the heart, which has its roots in the poverty of ourselves”.

(Source: CD/Christopher Wells, Vatican News)

Updated 5/2/20 20:17 CET:

News came today that during the General Audience last January 8, Pope Francis met, shook hands with and apologised to the woman whose hand he slapped during an incident on New Year’s Eve, when the woman grabbed the Pope’s arm and refused to let go, making Francis uncomfortable.

Related:  Seven years on, is the promise of real reform with Pope Francis dead in the water?

Next on Novena:

Pope renews call to religions “to say ‘no’ to violence and together promote peace, life, and religious freedom”

Disoriented? Lost? In a difficult place? Francis has some advice for you

Francis encourages Rome, other cities to seek unity, peace through fraternity

Pope issues plea to protect human life from technology and economy, “open doors to new forms of solidary fraternity”

Pope reminds hospital workers, administrators “the sick person is not a number”

Pope urges Church, society to fight “indifference and rejection” of elderly with “revolution of tenderness”

Pope promises legislative “update” for “greater efficiency, rigour, transparency” in abuse procedures

Related

Share this:

The following two tabs change content below.
Avatar

Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.