Blessed are they that mourn

I tried to present the paradox of blessedness and poverty of spirit in the last post. Blessedness is being flooded with creation goodness and power. However, there is so much of ourselves that obstructs this flow of blessedness. When we see this, we are confronted with our poverty. This is called humility. Humility has always been considered the foundational virtue, the base upon which God builds our spiritual lives. This is why Jesus begins the beatitudes with “poor in spirit,” because all the other beatitudes follow and build upon this one.

When we see ourselves as poor in the spiritual and moral qualities for which our yearning souls so very much long, the next step in our spiritual development is inevitable─tears. For many of us, and I include myself in this, tears do not come easy, or at least as easily as they should given the reality of our situation. Sin creates hardness in the soul. If we mourn, we often tend to mourn for the wrong things, such as loss of our own comforts, the crossing of our wills, people hurting our feelings, etc. To mourn for our spiritual state is truly a powerful advance in the spiritual life. Actually, it is a gift from God, called by St Teresa of Avila the “gift of tears.” The gift of tears is to feel what God feels, to really feel our poverty of spirit, to mourn for the sin and darkness all around us. All too often we simply do not see our own blind sides, and rather than mourn the moral abyss around us, we are entertained by the sins of others and our culture beamed to us through the media. It was said the great preacher George Whitfield could not get through a sermon without weeping.

The gift of tears is the gift of seeing and feeling what God sees and feels. We must pray hard for this … I am preaching to myself. Without this we will remain trapped in our own illusions about ourselves and our own judgments about the state of things around us. Tears are the raindrops that soften the soil of our souls. The channels open, and creation blessedness flows unobstructed with the tears. God help us!

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