Monday, January 23, 2012
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit !
“Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Those who are readers of the Bible might have read this famous discourse Jesus gave to the multitudes, many times. It is a verse from chapter 5 of the gospel according to St. Matthew in the New Testament Bible.
But have you ever thought of the deep lying message hidden in this verse? Only those who feel poor in spirit will ever hunger for righteousness. Only the humble seek for divine strength and crave spiritual power.
In the New Testament we also read about Jesus making his point clearer by telling the story of the two men visiting the temple to pray. One man was a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee was an important person of the society and the other was an ordinary worker of the society with little knowledge and importance. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself: 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unlearned, unjust, adulterers, or even like this publican. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the publican, standing at some distance did not lift his eyes to heaven but beat his breast, and said, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Jesus then explained that God heard the prayer of the poor publican. He said something like this: “I tell you that the publican went home with God's approval rather than the Pharisee, for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
Yet on another occasion some mothers brought their small children to Jesus for his blessings, but the disciples prevented them. Jesus reprimanded the disciples and said: "Do not prevent the little children to come to me; forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Verily, verily, I say to you, whosoever receives not the kingdom of God as a little child shall hardly enter therein.”
Remember, it is difficult for those with a high level of pride and ego to receive God’s grace and blessings. We have to learn to humble ourselves. Humility is the virtue that God likes. Ego and pride are vices that originate from powers that are ungodly and prevents one from receiving the graceful blessings from God. These vices are so destructive that those nurturing these knowingly or unknowingly are bound to destroy themselves, both materially and spiritually.
We often hear about ego clashes. A person blind with self pride cannot accept the view points of others. A society composed of egoistic persons can never hope to have peace. They are bound to clash till all of them perish. If not, peace and harmony will not be there. All will have to live in constant fear and anxiety about others like them. A person who nurtures self importance and pride in his or her own stature with little regard to others are not the children of God. They cannot love each other and care for others. They will do anything to satisfy their egos.
Violence often results from hurt feelings of egoistic persons. Egoistic persons cannot easily change. They feel that they are always right. Even when God himself were to offer them some good counseling, they are bound to reject it. No teacher can ever teach a student who boast himself of superior knowledge than the teacher himself. Knowledge is like water. It flows to low lying areas! We live in a society full of egoistic individuals. Though Jesus had tried to make us understand this again and again, we are yet to understand it.
Many claim to be Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. But they cannot change their ways and their heart. Their egos and pride do not allow them to be humble and accommodative. They cannot forgive others. They aspire for power, money, wealth, position and importance all for satisfying their egos. No matter what Jesus might have reminded them. They are all a divided lot fighting for superiority and never ever willing to accept what Jesus had taught them again and again. Their leaders might do the ritual of washing the feet of others as a meaningless imitation of what Jesus did centuries ago without ever forgoing their egos!
We believe in what we consider as right. But for evaluating right or wrong, our pride won’t even allow us to listen to our inner voice! Extreme pride and ego are characteristic traits of young adults migrating from childhood to adulthood. With age and experience, maturity develops. The more mature a person, the less his or her ego. Unfortunately, many people now-a-days only grow in age, but not in maturity. They seem to get no opportunity to learn from life experiences! But is it necessary to burn your fingers again and again to learn that fire can destroy? When in power many Saddams never ever imagine that they would one day face utter disgrace! When they enjoy power, money, wealth and position, they are high in spirit, making them potentially against divine providence.
True happiness, peace and love are characteristics of heaven. Our earth can be heaven. If only it is filled with blessed people. But to receive divine blessing, we need to empty our hearts of the all filling egos!
[Reproduced from the Author's Blog in SiliconIndia]