This is the first time I write an article with NO thoughts about anything in particular on my mind. What I sense is simply that God tenderly nudges me to write – whatever. Many times before I had different thoughts about certain topics in mind, but usually all thoughts were gone when I really started writing an article, a poem, or a comment. That was the way I have been used to be inspired by God for exactly six years now. Tcha…but today it’s a bit different. A completely empty mind, even before I began to type. 🙄
Here are a few verses from the Bible that ought to clarify what I am talking of now.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3 ESV)
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (Jn 12:49-50 ESV)
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:12-16 ESV)
Well, it seems that our natural mind ought to retire and to stop trying to understand God’s doing and thinking as soon as God has emptied us of our old SELF. We are “poor in spirit” if we are completely helpless without God’s continued guidance in ALL things.
As for a further explanation of that peculiar poverty, I decided to copy and paste a challenging excerpt of sermon # 87 from Meister Eckhart who was a medieval German professor of theology (in Paris) and a philosopher. I hold the belief that he was one of the greatest mystics ever because of his elaborate Christlikeness regarding his mind.
Having read his writings – though many years ago, but very often – I do know that his sermons are at first sight somewhat difficult to understand because we need our own spiritual experiences with God before we can “dig deeper”. Nonetheless, I think that Eckhart had a brilliant mind which perhaps only a few of his time were able to grasp. No wonder that he had serious problems with the Roman Catholic Church about his “heretic” preaching and writing through which he wanted to help all people to gain an ever deeper knowledge of God as He really is.
“Some people have asked me what poverty is in itself, and what a poor man is. This is how we shall answer.
Bishop Albert says a poor man is one who finds no satisfaction in all things God ever created, and this is very well said. But we shall speak better, taking poverty in a higher sense: a poor man is one who wants nothing, knows nothing and has nothing. [Color emphasis mine]
Firstly, we say that a poor man is one who wants nothing. There are some who do not properly understand the meaning of this: these are the people who cling with attachment to penances and outward practices, making much of these. May God have mercy on such folk for understanding so little of divine truth! These people are called holy from their outward appearances, but inwardly they are asses, for they are ignorant of the actual nature of divine truth. These people say that a poor man is one who wants nothing and they explain it this way: A man should so live that he never does his own will in anything, but should strive to do the dearest will of God. It is well with these people because their intention is right, and we commend them for it. May God in His mercy grant them the kingdom of heaven! But by God’s wisdom I declare that these folk are not poor men or similar to poor men. They are much admired by those who know no better, but I say that they are asses with no understanding of God’s truth. Perhaps they will gain heaven for their good intentions, but of the poverty we shall now speak of they have no idea.
If, then, I were asked what is a poor man who wants nothing, I should reply as follows. As long as a man is so disposed that it is his will with which he would do the most beloved will of God, that man has not the poverty we are speaking about: for that man has a will to serve God’s will – and that is not true poverty! For a man to possess true poverty he must be as free of his created will as he was when he was not. For I declare by the eternal truth, as long as you have the will to do the will of God, and longing for eternity and God, you are not poor: you want something for yourself; for a poor man is one who wills nothing and desires nothing.
Secondly, he is a poor man who knows nothing. We have sometimes said that a man should live as if he did not live either for himself, or for truth, or for God. But now we will speak differently and go further, and say: For a man to possess this poverty he must live so that he is unaware that he does not live for himself, or for truth, or for God. He must be so lacking in all knowledge that he neither knows nor recognises nor feels that God lives in him: more still, he must be free of all the understanding that lives in him. For when that man stood in the eternal being of God nothing else lived in him: what lived there was himself. Therefore we declare that a man should be as free from his own knowledge as he was when he was not. That man should let God work as He will, and himself stand idle.
For all that ever came out of God, a pure activity is appointed. The proper work of man is to love and to know. Now the question is: Wherein does blessedness lie most of all? Some masters have said it lies in knowing, some say that it lies in loving: others say it lies in knowing and loving, and they say better. But we say it lies neither in knowing nor in loving: for there is something in the soul from which both knowledge and love flow: but it does not itself know or love in the way the powers of the soul do. Whoever knows this, knows the seat of blessedness. This has neither before nor after, nor is it expecting anything to come, for it can neither gain nor lose. And so it is deprived of the knowledge that God is at work in it: rather, it just is itself, enjoying itself God-fashion. It is in this manner, I declare, that a man should be so acquitted and free that he neither knows nor realises that God is at work in him: in that way can a man possess poverty.
Thirdly, he is a poor man who has nothing. Many people have said that perfection is attained when one has none of the material things of the earth, and this is true in one sense – when it is voluntary. But this is not the sense in which I mean it.
Now pay earnest attention to this! I have often said, and eminent authorities say it too, that a man should be so free of all things and all works, both inward and outward, that he may be a proper abode for God where God can work. Now we shall say something else. If it is the case that a man is free of all creatures, of God and of self, and if it is still the case that God finds a place in him to work, then we declare that as long as this is in that man, he is not poor with the strictest poverty. For it is not God’s intention in His works that a man should have a place within himself for God to work in: for poverty of spirit means being so free of God and all His works, that God, if He wishes to work in the soul, is Himself the place where He works – and this He gladly does. For, if he finds a man so poor, then God performs His own work, and the man is passive to God within him, – again, it is this active passivity; it is being that, energetically being that – and God is His own place of work, being a worker in Himself. It is just here, in this poverty, that man enters into that eternal essence that once he was, that he is now and evermore shall remain.”
I hope and pray that these excerpts of Eckhart’s sermon above won’t give you headaches after reading. 😉 My intention was to simply offer some food for thought…
Every diving blessing to all,