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I would say that the idea of being "poor in spirit" was what Jesus had in mind in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14), in which He contrasted the pride, arrogance, and boastfulness (under the surface disguise of gratitude and thankfulness) exhibited by the Pharisee, with the humility, repentance, and recognition of the need for total reliance on God's mercy for any blessings in this life shown by the publican. The publican's attributes exemplify poverty of spirit -- a proper appreciation and acknowledgement of the relationship between God and humans, and of God as the source of all good things.
“Poor in spirit” is found in the beatitudes. It means to be "spiritually bankrup, spiritually poor", recognizing an absolute dependence on God for help and an understanding that we cannot live without Him; a desperate need and complete dependence on God. Poor in spirit is a good thing, not bad. It is very important and very valuable. A few examples of a person that is considered poor in spirit is when they do good, for instance; however, they do it for the Lord. He does not require praise from men, and perhaps hides from it. What he does is for the Holy Father. Someone who wants to do God’s will from moment to moment, but under the radar. Poor in spirit manifests itself in humility, servant mindedness, and steadfast dependence on God's grace and provision.
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