Only one who fears God is rich, says St. Ephrem the Syrian. All earthly riches are really poverty, because they lead us away from our true riches.
No one in creation is rich but one who fears God; no one is truly poor but one who lacks the truth.
How needy and not rich is the one whose need witnesses against him that even from the abject and the beggars he needs to receive a gift! He is truly a slave, and many are his masters: he renders service to money, to riches, and possessions. His lords are void of mercy, for they grant him no repose.
Flee, and live in poverty; poverty is a mother who pities her beloved. Seek refuge in indigence, who nourishes her children with choice things; her yoke is light and pleasant, and her memory sweet to the taste. The sick in conscience alone abhors the cup of poverty; the fainthearted dreads the yoke of indigence that is honorable.
Who has granted to you, son of man, to find repose in the world? Who has granted to you, thing of dust, to be rich amidst poverty? Do not be needy through desires and looking to others. Enough for you is your daily bread that comes of the sweat of your brow. Let this be the measure of your need, what the day gives you; and if you find for yourself a feast, take of it what you need. You shall not take in a day enough for days, for the belly keeps no treasure.
Praise and give thanks when you are satisfied, so that your satisfaction does not provoke the Giver to anger. In purity strengthen yourself, so that you may gain profit from it. In everything give thanks and praise to God as the Redeemer.
–St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Admonition and Repentance, 21IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do I have more than enough for myself and my family?
Can some of my surplus be put to better use?
Father, I desire to offer much; be pleased to accept the gifts I bring, and grant me the charity to offer more.
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