Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wisdom from… [13 Feb]

ST THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, OSA (1486–1555): The poor save the rich

In God's plan the poor serve the advantage of the rich, for the rich are saved by the poor when no other door to salvation is open to them. The rich do not fast, they do not toil, they are not persecuted, they do not endure harsh conditions, and they do not pray, being ensnared by their interests. The Lord therefore takes thought: What else is there? What is left for you? Give alms, and, behold, everything is clean for you; and the wise man says: The rich and the poor have met; the Lord is Creator of them both. He created the rich for the sake of the poor, and the poor for the sake of the rich. To the rich he has given riches that they might feed the poor, and for this reason too he often multiplies and increases their wealth. To the poor he has given neediness, sores, and hardships, that they might move the hearts of the rich and so the rich might be saved.

Love the poor, therefore, you who are rich, for they are your brothers and sisters, your redeemers, your helpers, since theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Give what is temporal that you may receive what is eternal.
(Sixth Sermon after Pentecost 5-6: Opera Omnia III, 119.)

An Augustinian friar and archbishop of Valencia, became known as the Beggar Bishop and father of the poor for his devotion to the poor. His many sermons had an influence on Spanish spiritual literature.

[A good rule of thumb I learned years ago for determining where you stand on the rich-poor spectrum, is to ask how many pairs of shoes you have. If the answer is more than one, you are rich.]

ST AUGUSTINE: A Cheap Old Song

You are thinking that I am saying what I always say; and you go on doing what you always do. What shall I do--now that I seem just a cheap old song to you? Change, change, I beseech you. The end of life is always unpredictable. Each of us walks with a chance of falling. I beseech you, brothers and sisters, even if you have forgotten about yourselves, at least take some pity on me.
-- Sermon 232, 8

Prayer. Lord, you support, fill, and overshadow all things.
-- Confessions 1, 4

[This latter prayer is why asking for God's gifts more than for God Himself is wrong. It is also why renouncing all His gifts for His presence alone is the path of highest mysticism. He can be found within His gifts, but all the more can He be found beyond and with-out them.]


Pearls conceived and nourished by wind or thunder claps are mere crust, devoid of substance. So also when virtues and fine qualities are conceived and nurtured by pride and vanity, they are without substance or solidity, having merely the appearance of good. Honors, dignities and rank are life saffron, which thrives best and grows most plentifully when trodden under foot.
(INT. Part III, Ch. 4; O. III, p. 141)


LET it never be forgotten that a hypocrite is a very unhappy man; he is a man who has devoted himself to a most delicate and arduous intellectual art in which he may achieve masterpieces which he must keep secret, fight thrilling battles and win hair-breadth victories for which he cannot have a whisper of praise. A really accomplished impostor is the most wretched of geniuses: he is a Napoleon on a desert island.

No comments: