Most other sins have natural limits, says Asterius of Amasea. But covetousness strangles us like a vine strangling a tree. You can’t get rid of it unless you take an axe to it.
But now, leaving ancient history, let us look at our own daily lives, and learn what sort of thing covetousness is in our own experience, and how hard it is to get rid of; for no matter whom it seizes, ever growing but never shrinking, it grows old with its victims and stays with them to the end.
The lustful one who loves his own body, even if he is mad in his desires for a long time, finds that there is a limit to his disorder when he becomes old, or sees the object of his affection, his body, now aged and the bloom departed. The glutton himself withdraws from his indulgence when surfeited, or when his digestive organs become weak, and their intense desire for food is gone. The ambitious man, after having attained great notoriety no longer wants to show himself off.
But the disease of covetousness is an evil hard to get rid of. Look at that ivy creeping up the trees over there, the plant flourishing and ever green, coiling tight about the trunks wherever it touches. Even if the trees suffer harm or wither, the ivy does not die, unless someone with an axe severs its serpent-like coils. In the same way, it is not easy to free the soul from covetousness, whether the body is youthful or beginning to grow old, unless some sober consideration comes in and like a knife cuts off the disease. –Asterius of Amasea, Sermon 3IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What sober considerations would help root out my own covetousness?
Lord, give me strength to master the dragon and crush his head; deliver me from the tyranny of Satan.
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