Yeah, it is pretty sad that the Pope has to be rhetorically frontrun, but, as I have been saying since literally day one of the Franciscan pontificate, a South American Jesuit who isn’t terribly intelligent and who is also in love with the idea of his own dazzling, dazzling “humility” is a disaster, and when one sees a disaster coming, one prepares as much as one can.
Hence this repost about the First Beatitude, which Pope Francis clearly does not understand but is using as the foundation of his whole schtick as the “Leader of the Diocesan Community of Rome”.
If I’m not mistaken, he has already said that his first Encyclical will be titled “Blessed Are the Poor”, which in and of itself is problematic. The First Beatitude is NOT “Blessed are the poor” full stop. The First Beatitude is “Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT.” Big, big, big, enormous, hugantic difference. Oh, but you know that a not-too-bright South American Jesuit with Liberation Theology / Marxist leanings would conveniently leave off the modifying prepositional phrase “in spirit”. Well, let’s frontrun that and really get our heads around the First Beatitude and the true poverty that Our Blessed Lord is referencing therein.
This post was originally from December 22, ARSH 2011. I had shut down Barnhardt Capital Management a month before and was interviewed by Peter Schiff on his radio show. That video is below. By the way, this was the first interview in which I publicly stated that Jon Corzine had committed a capital crime that merited execution. That is at the 15:05 mark. Mr. Schiff’s physical response in the video pretty much sums up where we are as a civilization. Anyway, that’s the backstory. Off we go:
Bravo to the many folks who picked up on exactly the remark by Mr. Schiff that will be the subject of tonights essay. You all will TOTALLY get this youre already most of the way there. We just need to flesh it out a bit.
And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain, and when He was set down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5: 1-3
The First Beatitude is another grossly misread and misunderstood verse, with the misunderstanding being a recent phenomenon, spurred by a conscientious perversion of the meaning of the verse by Marxist infiltrators beginning in the 20th century.
Most people read this verse and see the words blessed and poor and think that Jesus is saying that poor people are morally superior to rich people. You can see why Marxists jumped all over this verse. They have twisted it into a class warfare battle cry. Other people see the words blessed and poor and also the prepositional modifier in spirit, have no idea what to make of it, glaze over, start thinking about football or Zumba class, and just smile and nod like the Stepford Christo-zombies that they are.
Im a huge fan of punctuation. Especially properly-utilized apostrophes. But Im also a fan of ellipses and the humble comma.
(Lets eat Grandma! or, Lets eat, Grandma!
PUNCTUATION. SAVES. LIVES.)
I think that we can understand the First Beatitude with far more ease if we slip a set of ellipses in between the subject, the poor, and the prepositional phrase, in spirit. Thus:
Blessed are the poor . . . in spirit.
Does that help? Our Lord isnt saying that poor people are by definition morally superior to rich people. Not at all. What He is saying is that a person who is detached from their wealth and is willing to push their chips all-in, to use a poker metaphor, is truly blessed. So, given this, ANYONE within the wealth spectrum, rich or poor, can possess this virtue. This also means that anyone within the wealth spectrum can LACK this virtue. There are two separate classifications that we need to address and combine in order to understand this dynamic: poor in spirit and poor in fact, and their antipodes, rich in spirit and rich in fact. If we form a matrix of these characteristics, there are four possible output combinations. Lets go through each.
Poor in spirit and poor in fact:
This is a person who does not have any great wealth, but is also content and still maintains a spirit of generosity and gratitude. This condition is exemplified by the parable of the Widows mite in Mark 12: 41-44. The poor widow gave the smallest tithe, but it was greater than the tithes of the rich because, she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living. The widow was detached even from what little she had, even though on a percentage basis it far, far exceeded what the rich tithed. The widow was both poor in fact, and poor in spirit.
Rich in spirit and poor in fact:
This is the person who lives beyond their means and is preoccupied with the APPEARANCE and ACQUISITION of wealth. (Cough, cough. Ring any bells? Ahem.) This is the person who leverages himself out the gazoo so that he can have the 4000 square foot house and the luxury car . . . even though he only makes $65k per year. This would also be the welfare denizen who scoffs at honest work and lives off of the government, but has a 55 LCD TV and PlayStation, and has multi-thousand dollar hair extensions and intricately manicured fingernails. No. Way. Girl. I did NOT just go there. Oh yes I did.