Pope Francis explains " "There are three magic words: please, thank you, sorry..that come from poverty of spirit." Full Text

GENERAL Audience

Paul VI Hall
Wednesday 5 February 2020

Catechesis on the Beatitudes: 2. Blessed are the poor in spirit

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We are confronted today with the first of the eight Beatitudes of Matthew's Gospel. Jesus begins to proclaim his way to happiness with a paradoxical announcement: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because of them is the kingdom of heaven" (5,3). A surprising road and a strange object of bliss, poverty.

We must ask ourselves: what is meant here by "poor"? If Matthew only used this word, then the meaning would be simply economic, that is, it would indicate people who have little or no means of support and need the help of others.

But the Gospel of Matthew, unlike Luke, speaks of "poor in spirit". What does it mean? The spirit, according to the Bible, is the breath of life that God has communicated to Adam; it is our most intimate dimension, let's say the spiritual dimension, the most intimate, that which makes us human persons, the deep core of our being. Then the "poor in spirit" are those who are and feel poor, beggars, in the depths of their being. Jesus proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

How many times have we been told otherwise! You have to be something in life, to be someone ... You have to make a name for yourself ... This is where loneliness and unhappiness come from: if I have to be "someone", I compete with others and live in obsessive concern for my ego. If I don't accept being poor, I hate everything that reminds me of my fragility. Because this fragility prevents me from becoming an important person, a rich not only of money, but of fame, of everything.

Everyone, in front of himself, knows well that, however hard he tries, he is always radically incomplete and vulnerable. There is no trick that covers this vulnerability. Each of us is vulnerable inside. Must see where. But how bad you live if you refuse your limits! You live badly. The limit is not digested, it is there. Proud people don't ask for help, they can't ask for help, they don't ask for help because they have to prove themselves self-sufficient. And how many of them need help, but pride prevents asking for help. And how difficult it is to admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness! When I give some advice to the newlyweds, who tell me how to carry out their marriage well, I say to them: "There are three magic words: please, thank you, sorry". These are words that come from poverty of spirit. It is not necessary to be intrusive, but to ask permission: "Does it seem good to do this?", So there is dialogue in the family, the bride and groom are in dialogue. "You did this for me, thank you I needed it." Then you always make mistakes, you slip: "Excuse me". And usually, couples, new marriages, those who are here and many, tell me: "The third is the most difficult", apologize, ask for forgiveness. Because the proud can't do it. He cannot apologize: he is always right. It is not poor in spirit. Instead the Lord never tires of forgiving; unfortunately it is we who tire of asking for forgiveness (see Angelus, 17 March 2013). The tiredness of asking for forgiveness: this is a bad disease!

Why is it difficult to ask for forgiveness? Because it humiliates our hypocrite image. Still, living trying to hide one's shortcomings is tiring and distressing. Jesus Christ tells us: being poor is an opportunity for grace; and shows us the way out of this effort. We are given the right to be poor in spirit, because this is the way of the Kingdom of God.

But there is one fundamental thing to reiterate: we must not transform ourselves to become poor in spirit, we must not make any transformation because we already are! We are poor ... or more clearly: we are "poor" in spirit! We need everything. We are all poor in spirit, we are beggars. It is the human condition.

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. There are those who have the kingdoms of this world: they have goods and they have comforts. But they are realms that end. The power of men, even the greatest empires, pass and disappear. Many times we see in the news or in the newspapers that that strong, powerful ruler or that government that was there yesterday and no longer exists today has fallen. The riches of this world are gone, and the money too. The old men taught us that the shroud had no pockets. It's true. I have never seen a moving truck behind a funeral procession: nobody brings anything. These riches remain here.

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. There are those who have the kingdoms of this world, have goods and have comforts. But we know how they end. Those who know how to love the true good more than themselves truly reign. And that's the power of God.
In what did Christ show power? Because he has been able to do what the kings of the earth do not do: give life for men. And this is true power. Power of brotherhood, power of charity, power of love, power of humility. This did Christ.

This is true freedom: whoever has this power of humility, service, brotherhood is free. At the service of this freedom is the poverty praised by the Beatitudes.

Because there is a poverty that we must accept, that of our being, and a poverty that we must seek, the concrete one, from the things of this world, to be free and to be able to love. We must always seek the freedom of the heart, that which has its roots in the poverty of ourselves.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française en particulier les jeunes venus de France. Frères et sœurs, reconnaître devant Dieu sa pauvreté et sa faiblesse est la vraie source du bonheur. Notre cœur devient disponible pour ne plus nous rechercher nous-mêmes mais aimer librement les autres et donner notre vie. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Australia, Vietnam and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Ein herzliches Willkommen sage ich den Pilgern aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Wenn wir anerkennen, dass wir klein sind vor Gott und seiner Gnade bedürfen, finden wir die wahre Freude des Herzens und die Freiheit, unser Leben für die anderen zu geben. Der Heilige Geist geleite euch auf eurem Weg.
[I cordially welcome pilgrims from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In recognizing that we are small before God and in need of his grace, we find true happiness of the heart and the freedom to give our life for others. The Holy Spirit guide you on your way.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. Pidamos al Señor que nos dé la fuerza de reconocernos pobres, de aceptar nuestros límites, de sabernos necesitados de otro. Sólo así seremos capaces de acoger el amor que el Señor derrama en nuestros corazones y sentir la dicha de testimoniarlo ante el mundo. Que el Señor los bendiga. Gracias.
Com sentimentos de gratidão e estima, saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, invocando sobre os vossos passos a alegria do encontro com Jesus: ide até Ele, que sempre vos espera com os braços abertos para vos acolher e perdoar, e assim encontrareis a vida bela e feliz. Desça sobre vós e vossas famílias a Bênção de Deus.
[With feelings of gratitude and affection, I greet all the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, invoking in your footsteps the joy of meeting Jesus: go to him, who always awaits you with his open arms to welcome and forgive you, and so you will find the beautiful and blissful life. May the Blessing of God descend on you and your families.]

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً القادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، طوبى لفقراءِ الروحِ المتواضعينَ والمتجردينَ والمتكلينَ على الله فإِنَّ لَهم مَلكوتَ السَّمَوات. هم يعرفونَ بأن كلَّ ما هو للآب هو لهم، فيحبونَه في كلِّ شيءٍ وفوقَ كلِّ شيءٍ، وهذا يكفيهِم. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, "Blessed are the poor in spirit", the humble, those who experience detachment from the things of the world and totally entrust themselves to God, because of them is the Kingdom of Heaven. They know that everything that is of the Father is also them, therefore they love Him in everything and above all things, and this is enough for them. The Lord bless you!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Jako wierzący, ewangeliczni „ubodzy w duchu”, polegajcie w życiu nie na własnym rozumie, zdolnościach, sile, ani też na posiadanych dobrach. Pokładajcie natomiast bezgraniczną ufność w Bogu, w Jego potędze i miłosierdziu. Bez Niego wszyscy jesteśmy sami, bardzo mali, zagubieni i bezsilni. Bądźcie wierni błogosławieństwu otrzymanemu od Pana. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Like those believers, the "poor in spirit" of the Gospel, trust in your life not in your intellect, in your own strength, not in the talents and not even in the possessions. Instead, count on the boundless trust in God, in his power and in his mercy. Without him all of us are alone, very small, lost and helpless. Be faithful to the blessing received from the Lord. Praised be Jesus Christ.]

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I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking faithful. In particular, I greet the Participants in the Meeting promoted by the priestly Formation Center of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; and those at the course promoted by the International Missionary Animation Center (CIAM).

I also greet the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation in Milan; and educational institutions, especially that of Sant’Agata di Militello.

Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. May the Lord, with his Grace, support the purpose of building the Church with our sacrifices, overcoming our selfishness and placing ourselves at the service of the Gospel.
FULL TEXT + IMAGE SOURCE: VATICAN.VA - Unofficial Translation