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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

THE CONTEMPT FOR RICHES

The more one develops the virtues necessary for holiness, the more he develops contempt for riches.

Virtues are interrelated; prudence always has the element of justice. This is what makes prudence consistent, not fearful of death, not held back by alarm nor is it turned aside by flattery, nor does it shun exile. She fears not want for she knows that nothing is wanting to the wise man. What is greater than the man that knows not how to be excited at the thought of money and has a contempt for riches.

Such a man is more than a man; surely he ought to be admired who despises riches, seeing that most place riches even before their own safety.

The contempt of riches must adorn him who stands highest in honour; so that no love for his treasures may seize upon such a man, and that he who rules over free men may never become a slave to money. In soul, he should be superior to treasures and, in willing service, be subject to his friends.

It is praiseworthy for him who is to be priest to have no desire for filthy lucre nor to place his hope of good in money or to count up his daily gains and to calculate his savings like a hireling.

St. Ambrose, Duties of the Clergy, Ch. XIV

 

 


(11-23-02)

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