Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Owning a Slave is no Measure of Worth
Riches ought to be used in a reasonable way, and it is necessary to overcome avarice and share them generously with others.

The love of beautiful objects must not become purely selfish.  If it does, we shall end up not knowing what the true beauty is like.  It would be sad indeed if people were to say to us: ‘Their land, their slaves and their capital assets are worth fifteen million, but they themselves are only worth three pennies.’

If you separate owners and slaves, you will see that the owners are not different from slaves.  In fact they are very like them.  If there is any difference, it is that the owners are weaker and more prone to illness than their slaves.

We must continually repeat those amazing words of the Lord: ‘Sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, where there are neither robbers nor rust.’ [cf. Matt. 19:21; 6:20]

The truly rich are not those who keep their riches to themselves but those who give to others.  Happiness comes not from possessing wealth but from giving it away.  Whatever is generously given away becomes a fruit of the soul.  It therefore becomes the soul’s wealth.

                                                                                                                     Clement of Alexandria
                                                                                                                    The Teacher, 3, 6 (PG8, 604)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
To be filled, something must first be empty, as anyone knows who has started to fill a water glass at table, gotten distracted by conversation, and gone on "filling" the glass when there was no empty space left for the water.  Saint Paul wrote elsewhere about the self-emptying of Christ.  What he calls to our attention here is the need for our own. We cannot share in the fullness of the deity that fills us as the Body of Christ unless we make room by emptying ourselves of anything that offers no space for God.  The words of Saint Paul call to mind the holy of holies, the room at the heart of the Jerusalem temple kept all but empty to receive God.  We sometimes build other rooms in our inmost self and furnish them for other gods.  The prophet Ezekiel described an "idol room" in the much desecrated Jerusalem temple of his day.  Do we have an idol room, where we keep all the false gods whom we honour with our obedience and our sacrifices?  Their name is legion: public opinion, unnecessary financial gain, self-satisfaction, pleasure, comforts of all sorts.  They are all demanding of our time, our attention, our energy.  We recognize them best when they decree that we have no time to pray, no time for Divine Liturgy, no time to do a kindness, no time to listen to the stories of our children or the aging laments of our parents, because we must be at the beck and call of a TV program, an exercise class, a golf game, overtime work to pay for things we do not need... we all know them.  There is room for only one God in the inner temple of the Christian self - the one "who is the head of every principality and power."  With his help, let us drive out that other crowd, with all its demands, so that our inner emptiness may be filled not with their clutter but with the fullness of God in which we share through Christ.
                                                      - Sister Genevieve Glen, O.S.B.