avarice“Avarice, or love of money, is the worship of idols, a daughter of unbelief, an excuse for infirmities, a foreboder of old age, a harbinger of drought, a herald of famines.” St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”

“Look at all the earth supplies in summer and in autumn! Every Christian, especially the priest, ought to imitate God’s bountifulness. Let your table be open to everybody, like the table of the Lord. The avaricious is God’s enemy.” St. John of Kronstadt

Why do we try to make other people’s property our own, weighing ourselves down with material fetters, and paying no attention to the prophet’s imprecation: ‘Woe to him who gathers what is not his own, and heavily loads his yoke’ (cf. Hab. 2:6 LXX). Those who pursue us are, as Jeremiah says, ‘swifter than the eagles of heaven’ (Lam. 4:19).; but we weigh ourselves down with worldly things, move slowly along the road and so are easily overtaken by our pursuer, covetousness, which Paul taught us to flee (cf. Col. 3:5). Even if we are not heavily laden, we must still run as fast as we can, or else the enemy will overtake us. St. Neilos the Ascetic, Philokalia, Vol. 2

Our third struggle is against the demon of avarice, a demon clearly foreign to our nature, who only gains entry into a monk because he is lacking in faith. The other passions, such as anger and desire, seem to be occasioned by the body and in some sense implanted in us at birth. Hence they are conquered only after a long time. The sickness of avarice, on the contrary, can with diligence and attention be cut off more readily, because it enters from outside. If neglected, however, it becomes even harder to get rid of and more destructive than the other passions, for according to the Apostle it is “the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10), St. John Cassian, On The Eight Vices, Vice 3: Avarice, (Pjilokalia Volume 1)

In avarice, instead of loving the other person, we use him or her economically. We exploit him or her, the image of God, for our own wealth. We start to have a calculating attitude towards our friends and relatives. With dollar signs in front of our eyes, we start to look at what we can get out of others.  St James in his epistle in the Bible points out that avarice is the cause of wars among men.

St John of Kronstadt  “When your heart is struck by avarice, say to yourself: “My life is Christ, the Beloved of all. He is my inexhaustible wealth, my inexhaustible food, my inexhaustible drink. Our blind flesh dreams of finding life in food and in money, and bears ill-will against those who deprive it of these material means of life. But be firmly persuaded that your life is not money and food, but mutual love for the sake of love for God. Remember that God is Love, uniting all things animated by the laws of love, and bringing forth life from the union of love.

Do not be anxious about money; if you really need it, then God will send it to you, as He did the manna or quails to the Israelites. “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is: the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein.”[1340] First seek the kingdom of God, the salvation of men, their strengthening in faith, the amendment of their lives; strengthen yourself in faith, cleanse your heart, conscientiously fulfil your calling, carefully perform your duties, and everything else, such as money, food, clothing, and so forth, shall be added to you.”  Excerpts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt  http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2009/11/on-avarice-by-st-john-of-kronstadt_15.html

So what do you care about?


This is day thirteen of the 40 Days of Blogging.
For more articles on Eucharist as the Great Thanksgiving, check out these bloggers.

About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR.
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