THOSE WHO SUCCEED IN
EVERYTHING AND THOSE WHO SUCCEED IN NOTHING.
To those who succeed in
everything in the world, they should not neglect to seek out the Giver
and not fix their hearts solely on what is given. They must not love
their pilgrimage over their country; nor turn the supplies they
received for their journey into hindrances to their safe arrival; nor
be so exhilarated by the moon that they shrink from the sun.
Good fortune here on earth
is a solace for pending calamities and not a reward and recompense.
They must look above the favours of this world to withstand the pending
calamities lest, absorbed in the world, they succumb to the trails.
He who learns not to
despise the prosperity of this world in favour of the love for the
better life transforms the gift of life into an occasion of
The Idumeans were rebuked
for enjoying the world with their whole heart and mind. Thus, St. Paul
exhorts us: "Let those who buy be a though they possess not"; the things that we possess should not divert our attention
from the pursuits of supernal delight. Our separation from the eternal
must not make us rejoice in the transitory.
Prosperity in this life is
an incitement to live better lives but it mostly leads to greater
eternal damnation. The reprobate do not requite divine favours by good
works. On the other hand, remind those who succeed in nothing that when
a physician gives up hope for a patient, he allows him to have
everything he fancies; but a person, whose cure he deems possible, is
forbidden much that he desires. We take money away from our children
but reserve it for them as our heirs.
So, take joy, those of you
who are humbled with adversity because God, in His Providence, is
curbing you to discipline you. Thus, David was more upright in
subjection than when he was up on the throne. When he was a servant,
he even refused to smite an enemy; but as king he had a loyal soldier
murdered. Thus, Solomon had no recorded adversity; and he fell and
his wisdom deserted him completely because it was not guarded by
S. Gregory the Great, Pastoral
Care, Part III, Ch. 26