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Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
De Officiis, i, 16: In the eye of Heaven blessedness begins there where misery begins in human estimation.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
De Cons. Evan., ii, 19: Or He may be thought to have sought to shun the thickest crowd, and to have ascended the mountain that He might speak to His disciples alone. de Serm. Dom. in Mont. i. 1: Or, He ascends the mountain to show that the precepts of righteousness given by God through the Prophets to the Jews, who were yet under the bondage of fear, were the lesser commandments; but that by His own Son were given the greater commandments to a people which He had determined to deliver by love. Or, to teach sitting is the prerogative of the Master. “His disciples came to him,” that they who is spirit approached more nearly to keeping His commandments, should also approach Him nearest with their bodily presence. de Serm. in Mount. i, 1: Or, the phrase is introductory of an address longer than ordinary. Whoever will take the trouble to examine with a pious and sober spirit, will find in this sermon a perfect code of the Christian life as far as relates to the conduct of daily life. Accor...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Moreover, the one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named according to these stages. In the first, just as ought to be the case, is placed the kingdom of heaven, which is the perfect and highest wisdom of the rational soul. Thus, therefore, it is said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: as if it were said, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ...
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
For this reason the number of sentences before us is to be carefully considered. For the beatitudes begin with humility: Blessed are the poor in spirit, i.e. those not puffed up, while the soul submits itself to divine authority, fearing lest after this life it go away to punishment, although perhaps in this life it might seem to itself to be happy. Then it (the soul) comes to the knowledge of the divine Scriptures, where it must show itself meek in its piety, lest it should venture to condemn that which seems absurd to the unlearned, and should itself be rendered unteachable by obstinate disputations. After that, it now begins to know in what entanglements of this world it is held by reason of carnal custom and sins: and so in this third stage, in which there is knowledge, the loss of the highest good is mourned over, because it sticks fast in what is lowest. Then, in the fourth stage there is labour, where vehement exertion is put forth, in order that the mind may wrench itself away ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What, then, does He say? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, All is vanity and presumption of spirit; but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride: usually also the proud are said to have great spirits; and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called spirit. And hence it is written, Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of tempest. But, indeed, who does not know that the proud are spoken of as puffed up, as if swelled out with wind? And hence also that expression of the apostle, Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies. And the poor in spirit are rightly understood here, as meaning the humble and God-fearing, i.e. those who have not the spirit which puffs up. Nor ought blessedness to begin at any other point whatever, if indeed it is to attain unto the highest wisdom; but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; for, on the other hand also, pride is entitled the beginning of all s...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Hence also the sevenfold operation of the Holy Ghost, of which Isaiah speaks, seems to me to correspond to these stages and sentences. But there is a difference of order: for there the enumeration begins with the more excellent, but here with the inferior. For there it begins with wisdom, and closes with the fear of God: but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And therefore, if we reckon as it were in a gradually ascending series, there the fear of God is first, piety second, knowledge third, fortitude fourth, counsel fifth, understanding sixth, wisdom seventh. The fear of God corresponds to the humble, of whom it is here said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, i.e. those not puffed up, not proud: to whom the apostle says, Be not high-minded, but fear; i.e. be not lifted up. ...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
We know many poor people, indeed, who are not merely poor but blessed. For the necessity of poverty does not produce blessedness in each of us, but a devout trust sustained through poverty does. Some, having no worldly resources, continue to sin and remain without faith in God. Clearly we cannot call these people blessed. We must inquire just who are these blessed of whom the Lord says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus means that those persons are truly blessed who, having spurned the riches and resources of the world to become rich in God, desire to be poor in the world. Indeed, such people seem to be poor in the sight of the world, but they are rich in God, needy in the world but wealthy in Christ. . ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The poor in spirit; which, according to the common exposition, signifies the humble of mind and heart. Yet some understand it of such as are truly in poverty and want, and who bear their indigent condition with patience and resignation. (Witham) That is, the humble; and they whose spirit is not set upon riches. (Challoner) It is not without reason that the beatitudes are disposed of in this order. Each preceding one prepares the way for what immediately follows, furnishing us in particular with spiritual arms of such graces as are necessary for obtaining the virtue of the subsequent beatitude. Thus the poor in spirit, i.e. the truly humble, will mourn for their transgressions, and whoever is filled with sorrow and confusion for his own sins, cannot but be just, and behave to others with meekness and clemency; when possessed of these virtues, he then becomes pure and clean of heart. Peace of conscience reigns in this assemblage of virtues, and cannot be expelled the soul by any tribul...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Interlin.: The riches of Heaven are suitably promised to those who at this present are in poverty.
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Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Moral., iv, 1: When the Lord on the mountain is about to utter His sublime precepts, it is said, “Opening his mouth he taught them,” He who had before opened the mouth of the Prophets.
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Lord taught by way of example that the glory of human ambition must be left behind when he said, “The Lord your God shall you adore and him only shall you serve.” And when he announced through the prophets that he would choose a people humble and in awe of his words, he introduced the perfect Beatitude as humility of spirit. Therefore he defines those who are inspired as people aware that they are in possession of the heavenly kingdom. … Nothing belongs to anyone as being properly one’s own, but all have the same things by the gift of a single parent. They have been given the first things needed to come into life and have been supplied with the means to use them. ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
Or, He ascends the mountain, because it is placed in the loftiness of His Father's Majesty that He gives the commands of heavenly life.
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Jerome

AD 420
He spoke to them sitting and not standing, for they could not have understood Him had He appeared in His own Majesty. The “poor in spirit” are those who embrace a voluntary poverty for the sake of the Holy Spirit.
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Jerome

AD 420
This is what we read elsewhere: “He shall save the humble in spirit.” But do not imagine that poverty is bred by necessity. For he added “in spirit” so you would understand blessedness to be humility and not poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” who on account of the Holy Spirit are poor by willing freely to be so. Hence, concerning this type of poor, the Savior also speaks through Isaiah: “The Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor.” . ...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Whence then does He begin? And what kind of foundations of His new polity does He lay for us? Let us hearken with strict attention unto what is said. For though it was spoken unto them, it was written for the sake also of all men afterwards. And accordingly on this account, though He had His disciples in His mind in His public preaching, yet unto them He limits not His sayings, but applies all His words of blessing without restriction. Thus He said not, Blessed are you, if you become poor, but Blessed are the poor. And I may add that even if He had spoken of them, the advice would still be common to all. For so, when He says, Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Matthew 28:20 He is discoursing not with them only, but also, through them, with all the world. And in pronouncing them blessed, who are persecuted, and chased, and suffer all intolerable things; not for them only, but also for all who arrive at the same excellency, He weaves His crown. However, that ...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Every man in his own trade or profession rejoices when he sees an opportunity of exercising it; the carpenter if he sees a goodly tree desires to have it tocut down to employ his skill on, and the Priest when he sees a full Church, his heart rejoices, he is glad of the occasion to teach. So the Lord seeing a great congregation of people was stirred to teach them. Hom. 4: By not choosing His seat in the city, and the market place, but on amountain in a desert, He has taught us to do nothing with ostentation, and to depart from crowds, above all when we are to be employed in philosophy, or in speaking of serious things. “He ascended a mountain,” first, that He might fulfil the prophecy of Esaias, "Get thee up into a mountain;” . Or, that we may understand that He sometimes teaches by opening His mouth in speech, sometimes by that voice which resounds from His works. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” or, according to the literal rendering of the Greek, ‘they who beg,’ that the humble may ...
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Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
Mystically, this sitting down of Christ is His incarnation; had He not taken flesh on Him, mankind could not have come unto Him.
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Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
This should be known, that the Lord had three places of retirement that we read of, the ship, the mountain, and the desert; to one of these He was wont to withdraw whenever He was pressed by the multitude. Wherever it is said that the Lord opened His mouth, we may know how great things are to follow. ...
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
First He lays down humility as a foundation. Since Adam fell through pride, Christ raises us up by humility; for Adam had aspired to become God. The "poor in spirit’’ are those whose pride is crushed and who are contrite in soul.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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