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Thought of the day
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday of the Second week of Lent

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 85, 3 ; CCL 39, 1178 True wealth, true poverty

Thursday of the Second week of Lent

Commentary of the day 

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 85, 3 ; CCL 39, 1178

True wealth, true poverty

When I say that God does not incline his ear to the rich man, don’t go so far as to think, my friends, that God fails to answer those who have gold and silver, servants and lands. If they were born in that state and occupy that class of society let them call to mind the saying of the apostle Paul: “Tell the rich in the present world not to yield to pride” (1Tm 6:17). People who do not yield to pride are poor before God, who inclines his ear to the poor and needy (Ps 85[86]:1). Indeed, they know their hope does not lie in gold or silver or in those things of which they have an abundance for a time. It suffices that possessions are not causing their loss and that, if they do nothing for their salvation, at least they aren’t an obstacle to it… Therefore, when someone despises those things that feed one’s pride he is one of God’s poor and God inclines his ear towards him, for he knows the troubles of his heart. 

It’s true, my brethren, that poor man Lazarus, covered with sores, who lay at the rich man’s door, was carried by angels into the bosom of Abraham. This is what we read and believe. Whereas the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and feasted splendidly every day was thrown down to the torments of hell. But was it really the merit of his destitution that won for the poor man his being carried away by angels? And was the rich man delivered up to torment because of his lavish lifestyle? We need to acknowledge that it was humility that was honored in that poor man and what was punished in the rich man was pride.

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