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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

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 everlasting doom.

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 adversity.

S. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Part III, Ch. 26

 

 

 

 


(11-16-02)

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