“Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit,” Liahona, March 2018
We live in an exciting time, a time of great challenges and of great opportunities, We live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and is moving forward, a time when angels have come and restored the keys of the priesthood, when God Himself has ushered in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
I was baptized when I was 21 years old in Guadeloupe. As I was taught, I sincerely tried to repent of my sins to be able to receive the Holy Ghost. I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and experienced a change of heart; my desires were for the gospel. But even though I had been baptized, I was still struggling with aspects of my life and character that were not proper.
I often wondered how I could be forgiven and have my heart completely changed. Often I felt like Nephi and would exclaim, “O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities” (2 Nephi 4:17).
From the time I was baptized, I kept all the commandments that came with the ordinance of baptism, paid a full tithe, honored the Sabbath day, and lived the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, etc.
But still I was struggling with some aspects of my life. I worked on those things for years, sometimes doubting that I would ever overcome them. I often came pleading for help at the sacrament table.
One day as I was seeking to obtain the remission of my sins and pleading for help, something peculiar happened. As I listened to a talk, the Spirit of God rested upon me and my eyes were opened to see the reality of how my sins were grievous to my God, how I would be terribly ashamed to be brought back into His presence, how I would dread that time. A fire had been lit in my soul. I saw myself even less than the dust of the earth; I mourned for my sins and cried bitterly, and at the same time I recognized that for many years I had pleaded for what was happening now. I could see my weaknesses in a very tangible way (see Ether 12:27). I knew that the Savior would not let me suffer for my sins without coming to the rescue, and I pleaded for His help. I then understood better the people of King Benjamin:
“And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
“And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
“And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them” (Mosiah 4:1–3).
I cannot tell you exactly when the peace came, but in the days that followed, I knew that my guilt was swept away and I feared no more. I had no more desires for the things of the past; I had experienced another change of heart even deeper than at my baptism.I recognized the blessing of the sacrament in my life to receive peace and comfort from the Lord. I desired to keep the commandments even better, to be more diligent in my service.
A very well known Sermon of the Savior took a new meaning to me:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit [who come unto me]: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3–10).
I had been poor in Spirit, I had mourned for my sins, I had been comforted, and as a consequence meekness had grown within me. I hungered and thirsted after keeping the commandments. I realized that with my desire for more righteousness came the danger of judging myself and other harshly. I needed to be merciful with myself and others, as the Lord had been with me for many years and continues to be.
I long to see the next promised blessing come to pass in my life. I want to be a peacemaker, and I pray for courage to suffer the afflictions that come with preaching the gospel with joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He lives. He is our Redeemer, our Savior.
This is the time when He calls us to come unto Him. As we press forward to Him, we will see our weaknesses, we will be comforted, we will be sanctified, and our light will shine brighter as the Lord refines us through His glorious gospel.