Poverty of spirit, or detachment from worldly goods, may strike us as a fundamentally negative stance. As noted here, the blessing this beatitude bestows is founded on a willingness to relinquish certain things we may otherwise desire or possess, when such is the will of God.
Reflecting on how one might put this spirit of poverty into practice, it occurs to me that the essence of detachment is not a renunciation of what we are not meant to have. That necessary step only clears the way for what really matters.
The goodness of this discipline comes to fruition when we accept what God has given us, and intends for us, and rejoice in the glory of that gift.
St. Paul, warning those who “will become rich” against the “many and unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition,” adds that “the living God” “gives us abundantly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:9, 17).
In other words, we must let go of the hankering for what is not really ours if we are to enjoy what truly has been given to us.
As Christians, we are called to live “as having nothing, and possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10). How often do we fall into the opposite habit, seeing in the bounty we possess an invitation to covet what may well lead to our own destruction?
What if, instead of grasping for more, we learned to notice what we already have, and discovered how best to enjoy it?
In the process, we might realize how abundantly God has already blessed us, and that the value of those blessings actually increases when we share them with others, whose benefit enables us to become a living gift of the living God.
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