Preaching on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31), St. John Chrysostom pauses at the point where the rich man dies. See now, he says, what good all his possessions did him.
Dear friends, do not carelessly pass by the words “and was buried,” but let us think of the tables inlaid with silver, the couches, the carpets, the wardrobe, all the ornaments throughout the house, the oils, the perfumes, the abundance of wine, the variety of meats, the confections, the cooks, the flatterers, the attendants, the household slaves, and all the rest of the display, all burnt up and come to nothing. All is ashes, all cinders and dust, lamentations and mourning; no one any longer able to help him, or to bring back the departing soul.
Then was made manifest the real power of gold, and of all the rest of his wealth. From all that crowd of attendants, he departed naked and alone, not being able out of all that abundance to carry anything away; but he went away destitute and deserted. No one of all his servants, no one of his supporters was at hand to rescue him from punishment, but led away from all these, he is alone taken to bear those insupportable penalties.
–St. John Chrysostom, Four Discourses, 2.3IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What will people remember about me when I die: what I had, or what I did?
Lord, when the end of my life approaches, remember your death on the cross and be merciful to me.
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