Continued from here…..
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
It would perhaps be doubtful what poor He was speaking of, if in saying “blessed are the poor” He had added nothing which would explain the sort of poor:
and then that poverty by itself would appear sufficient to win the kingdom of heaven which many suffer from hard and heavy necessity.
But when He says “blessed are the poor in spirit,” He shows that the kingdom of heaven must be assigned to those who are recommended by the humility of their spirits rather than by the smallness of their means.
Yet it cannot be doubted that this possession of humility is more easily acquired by the poor than the rich: for submissiveness is the companion of those that want, while loftiness of mind dwells with riches.
Notwithstanding, even in many of the rich is found that spirit which uses its abundance not for the increasing of its pride but on works of kindness, and counts that for the greatest gain which it expends in the relief of others’ hardships.
It is given to every kind and rank of men to share in this virtue, because men may be equal in will, though unequal in fortune: and it does not matter how different they are in earthly means, who are found equal in spiritual possessions.
Blessed, therefore, is poverty which is not possessed with a love of temporal things, and does not seek to be increased with the riches of the world, but is eager to amass heavenly possessions.
Of this high-souled humility the Apostles first, after the Lord, have given us example. Leaving all that they had without difference at the voice of the heavenly Master, they were turned by a ready change from the catching of fish to be fishers of men, and made many like themselves through the imitation of their faith, when with those first-begotten sons of the Church, “the heart of all was one, and the spirit one, of those that believed” (Acts 4:32).
For, putting away the whole of their things and possessions, they enriched themselves with eternal goods, through the most devoted poverty, and in accordance with the Apostles’ preaching rejoiced to have nothing of the world and possess all things with Christ.
Hence the blessed Apostle Peter, when he was going up into the temple, and was asked for alms by the lame man, said, “Silver and gold is not mine, but what I have that I give thee: in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk” (Acts 3:6).
What more sublime than this humility? what richer than this poverty? […] He [Peter] who gave not Cæsar’s image in a coin, restored Christ’s image on the man.
Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 95, 2-3.