“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say: Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Matthew 4:17
The kingdom of Heaven appertains to those who repent. The first mark of repentance is poverty of spirit; hence Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit — for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3). John preached repentance; Jesus preaches it here; and so did His apostles afterward. Thus true repentance is necessary for all.
The beginning of poverty of spirit, is to acknowledge ourselves poor, miserable sinners, depraved by nature and totally void of any righteousness and worth of our own; to confess our nakedness; to drop all the fig leaves of vain excuses and false comforts; to lay open our poverty and needs before God; to accuse ourselves and plead guilty of all our sins — and at the same time, to seek mercy from Christ. If we do this, we are blessed — and the kingdom of Heaven is ours.
This poverty of spirit is both the first and the last foundation laid in the heart, for the faithful are more and more grounded in poverty of spirit, the nearer they approach their death; and just as they are leaving earth for Heaven — they feel themselves to be less than nothing and vanity!
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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