Pope Francis on Sunday, January 29, dedicated his catechesis to the Gospel reading of the day reflecting on the Beatitudes recounted in the Sermon on the Mount.
He was addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus prayer.
The Gospel of Matthew, Francis said, is the keystone of the New Testament. It tells of how Jesus manifested God’s will to show man the path to happiness.
He said this message was already contained in the words of the prophets who highlighted God’s liberating closeness to the poor and the oppressed.
But Jesus, he said, points to a different path which exhorts us all to trust in God as Christian happiness is to be found in the promise of salvation.
Focusing on the first Beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, Pope Francis said he who is poor in spirit does not rebel, but knows how to be humble, obedient, and available to the grace of God.
And he pointed out that the happiness of the poor in spirit has two dimensions: first of all in respect to material goods that should be used with moderation:
Being weighed down by the need for voracious consumption that leads one to believe “the more I have, the more I want” is something, the Pope said, that kills the soul. The man or woman who has this attitude, he explained, will never be happy.
Poverty of spirit, he continued, is revealed in the way a Christian praises and acknowledges the love with which the Lord created us and the world. In the way he puts his trust in God.
“He who is poor in spirit is the Christian who does not trust in material riches, who is not obstinate in conveying his own opinions, but listens with respect and willingly defers to the decisions of others” he said.
"If there were more people who are poor in spirit in our communities there would be fewer divisions, disagreements and controversies! Humility, like charity, it is an essential virtue for living together in Christian communities”.
Poverty, in the evangelical sense, the Pope said, is the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, a path that favors sharing rather than possession.
“You can walk the path of love - the Pope concluded - only if you have an open heart” following the example of Our Lady, the prime model of the poor in spirit, and totally docile to the will of the Lord.