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`Blessed are the poor in spirit'

IF there ever was anyone who was spiritually ``poor,'' it was me. And I certainly didn't feel blessed. Oh yes, I had been successful in education, relationships, health; but now they were beginning to sour. The luster of life was fading, relations worsening, health failing. The world of matter was crumbling, and I knew nothing of the things of Spirit. For the first time I knew how spiritually impoverished I was. Humbly I knelt in prayer to know more of God, of Spirit. With this childlike receptivity, ideas began to flow. I first saw that Spirit could not be known by the material senses--I could not see it with my eyes, hear it with my ears, feel it with my hands. How could I know Spirit? Reaching out again in prayer, I found that this very act of praying was one means of understanding Spirit. Yet I seemed so void of an actual understanding of God. Prayer rescued me again by turning me to the Bible for this understanding. I spent long hours, days, months, searching the Scriptures to know more of Spirit. I soon saw that Christ Jesus understood and expressed Spirit. His spiritual understanding and life were one. Jesus showed what Spirit is and does-- that Spirit is God and blesses man with His own spiritual nature. And with this understanding, Jesus healed, reformed, saved. I longed to follow the Master in the way of Spirit, to do a little of what he did and said we could do. This longing was naturally and gradually fulfilled as I began reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. It was indeed the ``key'' to the Bible's spiritual meaning and practical, healing application in daily living. Spirit, I learned, is the primal cause and creator of man and the universe; therefore man isn't truly the vulnerable mortal he appears to be. As the likeness of Spirit, he is endowed with health and immortality. And because this is the actual reality of life, we can, through prayer and purity of thought, see more and more evidence of it in our experience. The Christ, the divine healing influence expressed so fully by Jesus, and felt in prayer, makes Spirit's presence and power knowable to humanity; it restores harmony to mind and body. Science and Health states, ``Christ, as the spiritual or true idea of God, comes now as of old, preaching the gospel to the poor, healing the sick, and casting out evils.'' 1 In healing, Jesus drew a sharp line between matter and Spirit and overruled the material evidence of disease and suffering with the spiritual evidence of man's God-given perfection. Following Jesus' example, striving to live in accord with the precepts found in the Sermon on the Mount, we'll cultivate the spiritual sense that enables us to see more of reality, hear more of divinity, feel more love. This blessing of Spirit makes earth lovelier, life more beautiful, lives more harmonious. Christian bounty is not dependent on money or things but on our heavenly Father's unlimited love, expressed in such qualities as faith, peace, service. These qualities take us beyond limited views of life in matter--beyond stagnation and decline--to life in Spirit never waning, always unfolding spiritual meaning. Feeling God's love for us, we love people more and want to serve them better. The spirit of love is the heart of Christianity. This is the blessing that came to me those many years ago through the longing to know more of Spirit. Gradually life became more joyous, relations more loving, activities more meaningful and satisfying. My health improved. I felt more useful and wanted to be of greater service to my fellowman. I now know that to be ``poor in spirit'' is to be humble before the allness of Spirit. I am blessed indeed, for I have experienced a little of the inspired promise available to all: ``Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'' 2 1 Science and Health, p. 347. 2 Matthew 5:3.

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