Wealth and Poverty

Wealth and Poverty

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Saint John Chrysostom

 

The rich are useless. Yes, useless, unless they’re generous and charitable. But, unfortunately, not many rich people are distinguishged for their love of others. Most of them wallow in self-love, in hard-heartedness and sin. So don’t envy them. Think, rather, about Peter and Paul about John and Elijah, about Christ Himself, Who had nowhere to rest His head. Imitate the poverty of Him and His saints, who were deprived of material goods but enjoyed untold spiritual wealth.

Always remember the Lord’s declaration on how difficult it is for the rich to be saved: ‘It’s very difficult for those with money to enter the Kingdom of God. It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 18, 24-5). If you like, measure this statement of Christ’s against all the gold on earth and you’ll see that the gold doesn’t outweigh the damage that possessing it will do to you. Even if you had your own land and sea, the countries and states of the whole world, if humanity worked for you, if they gave you fountains of gold instead of water, then I’d tell you you still weren’t worth thirty cents, because you’d have lost the Kingdom of Heaven.

Tell me, if the emperor invited you to the palace and invited you to sit next to the throne, spoke about you in high terms to all the courtiers and kept you at his table to taste the impartial dishes, wouldn’t you consider yourself to be the happiest of people?

And now, when you’re about to go to heaven and stand beside the King of All, to shine like the angels and to share in God’s inaccessible glory, you hesitate to scorn money, when you should be throwing it around with joy, even if you have to sacrifice your life to do so. In order to claw your way up into some transitory public position that will allow you the opportunity to steal, you’ll use any means, fair or foul. Yet now, when the eternal Kingdom of Heaven’s before you, which nothing will ever replace, you’re indifferent and sit gawping at money.

Alas, how dulled our minds are. Those are the goods we desire and we’re so attached to the things of this earth! We don’t see the cunning of the devil, who offers us trivia and takes away what’s important. He offers us mud and snatches heaven away from us. He draws us into the dark and distances us from the light. He drags us into deceit and deprives us of the truth. He fools us with dreams- because that’s all that the riches of this world are, a dream- and reduces us, at the hour of our death, to being poorer than the poor. Because you take nothing with you, apart from your virtue and your good works.

Source: pemptousia.com

 

 

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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.