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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana


 
 
 

 

 


WEALTH




THE ART OF DYING WELL

There is an error prevalent among the rich that greatly impedes them from living a good life and dying a good death. The error is this: they think that the wealth they possess is absolutely and unconditionally theirs. Therefore they can use it up or give it away or waste it as they please. They think no one should question them: "Why do you dress so luxuriously? Why do you dine so lavishly? Why do you lose so much money in gambling?" And their answer is: "I can do what I want with my own possessions."

This is a serious and particularly a dangerous error. They may be masters of what they possess, but they are mere stewards and administrators before God of what they possess. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world, and all they that dwell therein."

The New Testament adds the parable of the rich man. God is the rich man who went on a journey and left all to his steward. Every rich man in this world must believe that his riches belong to God, whether he acquired it justly or unjustly. If he acquired it justly, he is a steward and an administrator. If he acquired it unjustly, he is a thief and a robber. And the parable is clear that God, in His good pleasure, can remove the stewardship of His riches, through robbery, bankruptcy, drought, etc. . ."you can be steward no longer."

The Lord continues. . .saying that if we are found unfaithful in giving out false wealth, how can we be entrusted with real wealth, the virtues, which is true wealth. Sinners consider the mammon of iniquity as true riches; the wise men put no value on this and insist that only spiritual gifts are true riches. 

In the story of Dives, his only fault is that he used his wealth as if it were his own to use as he desired.

So, to live well and die well, we must remember that an account will have to be given on how we used the things God entrusted to us. Any luxurious living is a great harm to the poor and sick who lack what we have in abundance. 

St. Robert Bellarmine

 

 

 

 

(09-06-02)

 

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