Thought of the day
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time

“Blessed are you who are poor..."

“Blessed are the poor.” Not all the poor are blessed for poverty itself is a neutral thing. There may well be both good and wicked poor people… “Happy the poor man who cried out and the Lord heard him” (cf Ps 33[34],7): poor in sins, poor in vices, poor in whose house the prince of this world has found nothing (cf Jn 14,30), poor in imitation of that Poor man who, though he was rich became poor for our sakes (2Cor 8,9). For this reason Matthew gives a full explanation: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, for the poor in spirit do not make much of themselves, do not exalt  themselves in their carnal minds. Thus this is the first beatitude.

[“Blessed are the gentle,” Matthew writes next.] After forsaking sin…, being content with my simplicity, stripped of evil, I have only to moderate my character. What use is it for me to lack earthly goods if I am not gentle and peaceful? For following the right road means, of course, following him who said: “Learn of me for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11,29)…

Having done this, remember you are a sinner: weep for your sins, weep for your faults. It is good the third beatitude is for those who weep for their sins because it is the Trinity who forgives sins. Purify yourselves, then, by your tears and wash yourselves with your weeping. If you weep over yourselves then no one else will have to weep for you… Everyone has their dead to weep for; we are dead when we sin… So let he who is a sinner weep over himself and reprove himself that he may become righteous, for the just man accuses himself.

Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church 
On the Gospel of Saint Luke, V, 53-55