Forgive me for a tv example . . . . but years ago there was a show Parenthood (now on my gluttonous guilty pleasure Netflix)in which the father figure, Zeek, had some difficulty relating to his wife, Camille. Throughout the series, especially in the beginning, he marched to his own drummer. He did his own thing, steamrolled over those with opinions contrary to his, and basically acted with little to no regard for those around him.
After decades of a disjointed marriage, Camille had enough and gave Zeek an ultimatum. “Either figure out a way to be present and do life WITH me or . . . we will find another path to take.”
For multiple episodes following that ultimatum you’d see Zeek trying . . .
And when they would be in a conversation he would say, “I see you. I hear you.”
At first, it was endearing. You thought . . . WOW! He heard her and the relationship will be resolved.
Then you realized that this was his “go to.” Obviously, some counselor coached him on what to say and rather than process the meaning behind those statements he just “said them” and didn’t really “get” what it meant to see and hear.
When Jesus taught the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” in Matthew 5:3, he wanted the listeners to learn to see and hear.
“Poor in spirit” meant so much more than the listeners understood. Its focus was not physical poverty . . . but more of a poverty of spirit. He wanted the people to understand that in order to truly experience the joy of living in the Kingdom of God, they needed to have less of self and more of God.
They needed to be at a place where they could AND would receive things. Not already assume they had it all figured out and really didn’t need anything more.
Poor in spirit means to take a step back and really try to SEE God at work in our lives. To really try to HEAR what God is saying to us!
It designates an inner attitude of receptivity and openness. One is blessed because it is when we are in this state of openness that we are able to receive, learn, and grow.
We could utter the words, “I see you!” “I hear you!” and mean them!
If we will start working on this, our lives will be filled with a joy we can’t begin to understand.
“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark that belongs entirely to God.” –Thomas Merton