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POVERTY AND RIGHTS

My Dearest Sister Florentina,

I am concerned about you because you are my sister.  Be well acquainted  with the patience and poverty of Job, so you will not be discouraged by adversity nor, on the other hand, be lifted up by prosperity.  For Job was wealthy in goods, but humble in heart.  

You will be blessed if you give thanks to God both in adversity and in poverty; so consider the prosperity of this life as smoke that easily vanishes.  David was king, yet he was humble.  So, do not take delight in earthly possessions nor rejoice in worldly gains; and do not be saddened by losses.  The things that are loved for the sake of possessing them cause the user pain when they perish.  Do not wish to be honoured in the world.  Do not wish to be called "head" or "chief".  For Christ was God and chose to be called a servant to show us that poverty is enriching.  

Follow the footsteps of your Bridegroom with unwearied pace, lest you find yourself with a Bridegroom who is unwilling to accept you when He sees you to be so unlike Him.  This I say, that you should put little value on the possessions of the world and not too greatly desire them and not consider as great those whom you see to be rich in the world.  

Ordinarily, God gives temporal riches to those He will deny eternal riches; but God also gives it to those He is sure will not become proud therefrom.  The good become rich by the mercy of God; and, through God's mercy, become poor.  In either case, the good is grateful to God.  Riches, however, is given to the wicked by way of punishment, that their joy may turn to woe; and when the wealth is taken away, they are removed by way of punishment, that they may grieve for their wealth.  Wealth and poverty is a blessing to the good; but a punishment for the wicked.  

The Blessed Virgin Mary was so poor in goods but rich in the Lord.  At the time she gave birth, she had neither mid-wife nor maid-servant.  Joseph was also poor; but he was a just man.  He had to work for his food and clothing.  So, do not desire riches, "For those who seek to become rich, fall into temptations and into the snare of the devil and into many useless and harmful desires."  That is why wealth is more apt to befall those who despise it than those who pursue it.  

St. Leander of Seville: "The Training of Nuns" Chap. 23

 

 

 

(05-20-05)

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