Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit: A Letter from Jesus

February 9, 2021

For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Lillian Jordan

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

Years ago, I had just begun my public life, after having been baptized by my cousin John in the Jordan. Peter, his brother Andrew, and James and John—the sons of Zebedee—had responded to my call and had left everything to accompany me on my mission to teach, to heal and to preach the Good News of God’s reign.

A large crowd gathered, curious to see who I was and what I was doing. In response, I climbed a nearby hillside and began to preach. I longed to touch their hearts and teach them about my unconditional love. I yearned to show them the attitudes of spirit that could guide their lives and bring them peace. The heart of my sermon that day, and the path to life, has come to be called the Beatitudes.

For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration.

The first, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” is foundational to discipleship. It calls you to count nothing as your own, to empty yourself of self-centeredness, and, in simplicity and humility, to recognize that the gifts you are given are given to be shared. Living well the first Beatitude is to intentionally, prayerfully turn your heart to being filled with my Spirit, alive and active in you, shaping you to be all you can be for my people—all people.

You live in a world in darkness. I see in the faces of my people the pain of their experience of poverty, illness, inequality, division, violence, disenfranchisement and injustice of all sorts. Concerns for your common home, Earth, and its thoughtless ravaging wrench my heart. I count on you to be faithful people of mercy, committed to prayerful dialogue and creative action that will serve to bring light that dispels darkness.

Much can be accomplished to make a difference when you work together to become knowledgeable about local, national and world concerns, and act courageously for more just solutions. As Sisters of Mercy, Associates, Companions and partners, you have done much to address your Critical Concerns. I encourage you to be unflagging in your zeal to daily recommit yourselves to this work to bring healing and hope to a hurting world.

As you embark on your Lenten journey, know that you will be held tenderly in my heart and strengthened by my love. May you live in the holy paradox of knowing that it is in the emptying of yourself for my sake that you will be filled with the presence and power of my love. May our journey to the cross this year culminate with the glorious celebration of Resurrection and the deeper realization of the Kingdom of God among us.

With love,


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  1. Antonette Schmidt

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Lillian.

  2. Sister Mary Anne Poeschl

    Thanks, Lillian for the encouragement. Let’s all have a life changing Lent.

  3. Richard Mary Burke

    Lillian, thank you for sharing your beautiful reflection to help prepare us for this Holy Season of Lent, 2021.
    Many Blessings!

  4. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM

    What a beautiful beginning for our Lenten journey! Thank you, Lillian.

  5. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM

    What a beautiful way to begin our Lenten journey! Thank you, Lillian.

  6. Rachelle Harper

    So beautiful!!!! Thank you for taking us into Jesus’ own heart

  7. Sarah Sherman


    Thank you for this powerful and consoling reflection in anticipation of a Lent like none we have yet experienced.

  8. Natalie Rossi

    Thank you for this spiritual journey

  9. Judy Carey

    Lillian, thank you for your letter from Jesus! What a wonderful way to begin our Lenten journey! Judy

  10. Kirk Demlinger

    This is exactly what I needed at this moment. I have so much gratitude for this Lenten reflection. I also have much gratitude for the guidance of the Critical Concerns and the Sisters of Mercy in my vocation at Mercy HS Burlingame. You make it a challenge to give more than I receive! _/\_

  11. Elaine Schneider

    Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. A wonderful way to prepare for Lent.
    Elaine Schneider, Mercy Associate

  12. Barbara Hartman

    Thank you Sister Lillian for a beautiful and thoughtful take on The Poor in Spirit beatitude🙏

  13. Bob Phillips

    Thank you Sister Lillian for sharing your reflection as we begin our Lenten journey.

  14. Ingrid Robinson

    It is truly a blessing to read these annual reflections put out by the Sisters of Mercy each year. I look forward with anticipation for the rest of the journey.

  15. Celina Hanoman RSM

    Thank you Sr. Lillian for this “going into the heart of Jesus “ reflection . He stood on that hillside and was with us, as well , as he saw our pain, struggles and our commitment to follow him to bring hope and healing.

  16. Jane Bower

    I’m looking forward to the journey with you.

  17. Walter E. Nohstadt Jr.

    Thank you Sister Lillian for the reflection. It brought me clearer meaning of this beatitude.

  18. Ginny DiPonzio

    I love the idea of this letter from Jesus. It makes this Lent much more personal for me. And I’m going to answer this letter and any letters I get from Jesus to make this as personal as I can. Thank you so much, Lillian. God bless you.

  19. Ellen Fink, RSM

    Thank you for such a beautiful reflection. I look forward to taking this letter to my prayer.

  20. Kathy Bednarek

    Wonderful to reflect upon – thank you, Lillian!

  21. Sheila Stevenson

    Simple beautiful reflection. Thank you for sharing your wisdom as we make our way to our Lenten journey.

  22. Camilla Lauricella, Mercy Associate

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection on the first of the Beatitudes. The Sermon on the Mount is dear to my spiritual reflections. Blessings Sister Lillian and all during this Lenten season.

  23. Pat Bezek

    What a beautiful way to experience this Lenten season…through the eyes of Jesus.

  24. Camilla F Martocchia

    Such a beautiful reflection, Lillian, thank you.

  25. Fran Repka

    Thank you for this letter from the heart. Such
    an important call and invitation to Lenten prayer that finds fruition in action

  26. Linda van Bussel RSM

    Thank you Lillian for the wonderful reflection. Reading the letter from Jesus gave my reflection even more depth. Arohanui Linda New Zealand.

  27. Sheila Harrington, RSM

    Many thanks for such a personal letter. It felt like it was meant for me personally. Thank you.