Thought of the day
8/17/2020 5:44:29 AM

Monday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time


Saint Clement of Alexandria (150- c.215)


Homily “How can the rich be saved?”

“Happy the poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3)

We should not reject those goods that may potentially be of use to our neighbor. It is in the nature of possessions to be possessed and that of goods to spread good. God intended them for man's well being. Our goods lie in our hands like tools, instruments that we can put to good use so long as we know how to wield them... Nature has made a servant of wealth, not a mistress. So we shouldn't decry it since it is neither good not bad in itself but completely neutral. We ourselves are alone responsible for the use, good or bad, which we make of it. Our minds, our consciences are entirely set free from disposing as they choose of the goods entrusted to them. What we should destroy are not our goods but the covetousness that perverts their use. When we have acquired integrity then we shall know how to use them with integrity. Those goods we are told to get rid of we should understand to be the unregulated desires of the soul (...) You gain nothing from depriving yourself of your money if you remain rich in unregulated desires (...) See how the Lord conceived of the use of external goods: we need to detach ourselves, not from the money that enables us to live, but from the forces that cause us to use it badly, namely sicknesses of the soul (...) We need to purify our souls, that is to say, make them poor and naked and, in that state, listen to the Lord's call: “Come, follow me.” He is the way along which the pure of heart walk (...) Here is a man who thinks of his fortune, his gold, silver, houses, as graces from God, and he shows Him his thanks by succoring the poor from his own resources. He knows well that he possesses these goods more for the sake of his brothers than for himself; he remains stronger than his wealth and is far from becoming its slave; he does not lock it up in his heart (...) And if, one day, his money is about to disappear, he accepts his ruin with just as joyful a heart as in the days of his prosperity. Now this man, I say, God declares blessed and calls “poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3); he is a certain heir of the Kingdom of heaven, which will be closed to those who could not look beyond their own wealth.