Writing to a young widow still grieving her husband, St. John Chrysostom advises her to put all her goods in heaven—a better investment than she could ever find here on earth.
Now, once and for all, if you want to keep your property in security and earn good interest on it as well, I’ll show you the plan, and the place where no one who wants to steal it can get in. What place is that? It’s heaven.
Send your possessions to that good husband of yours, and no thief or embezzler or any other evildoer can pounce on them. If you deposit those goods in the other world, you’ll get a healthy return from them. Everything we plant in heaven yields a great and abundant crop, as you might naturally expect from things that have their roots in heaven.
If you do this, look what blessings you’ll enjoy. First, eternal life, and the things promised to those who love God—things that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Second, you will always be together with your good husband. And you’ll be relieved from the anxieties, fears, dangers, plots, antagonism, and hatred that surround you here.
For as long as you have this property, someone will probably be trying to get it from you. But if you transfer it to heaven, you will live a life of security and safety, and great peace, enjoying independence combined with godliness. Suppose you want to buy land, and you’re looking for productive ground, and someone offers you a plot in heaven instead of on earth. It would be very unreasonable to reject an estate in heaven and stay on earth, and put up with all the trouble connected with it—for it often disappoints all our hopes.
–St. John Chrysostom, Letter to a Young Widow, 7IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
How much of my treasure is laid up in heaven?
How much is still bound to the earth?
Lord, fill my heart with the spirit of charity, so that I may please you with my thoughts and deeds, and love you in my brothers and sisters here on earth.
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