RIGHT MANAGEMENT OF ONE'S POSSESSIONS
For those disturbed by the terrors of their
sins, abandon your sins. Do not be like pigs who, upon feeling the warmth of
the mud in their bellies, roll over and coat their whole bodies with mud.
Rise immediately when you fall. Let there
be quickness of repentance that cure may be swift. Have a horror for sin;
then hasten to heal the wounds. If the wounds are neglected, it will become
infected, enlarged and cancerous.
If you neglect your illness, you will
decline considerably and spiritual death will occur.
What can be done for one who needs to weep
for his sins but cannot weep; who needs to amend but has no time to amend;
who lacks good works but has no strength to perform good works; who wishes
to confess but does not know how due to long neglect; who needs much time
for reparation but has little time?
For such a person as the above we must not
withhold spiritual help; but neither can we promise that the last resort
will work. But we must still leave nothing untried. To try nothing is
Know that the way to deserve leniency on
the day we are judged is to strive after pain in this world. But how can we
prescribe pain to someone racked with pains due to an indulgent way of life?
How can we help a tottering and destitute man when he is unable to do any of
the requirements for salvation, like prayer, fasting and good works?
Daniel's counsel to the king of Babylon who
was filled with sores because of his sins was: "Redeem your sins with
alms and your injustices with works of mercy to the poor. And the Lord shall
be patient with your sins. Offer your goods to charity to save your soul
from eternal punishment when nothing else can be done." However, let
him offer them with compunction and with tears; let him offer them with
sorrow and grief for his sins.
You must make your offering otherwise they
are of no value; if offered to purchase salvation it does not please God.
Alms must be offered out of love. The soul of the giver is not measured by
the value of the gifts but by the attitude of the soul. Money does not make
faith acceptable; it is faith that makes money acceptable.
Do not think that God owes you a favor when
you give; it is you who owe God a favor when He accepts your gifts because
whatever you give God is His in the first place. So when you give to God,
remember you are merely returning what is His.
St. Salvian: Four Books of Timothy
to the Churches