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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
26th March 2017

The Dangers of Avarice by Cardinal Angel Herrera Oria

Importance of this theme at the present time:  This you must know well enough, that nobody can claim a share in Christ's Kingdom, God's Kingdom, if he has that love of money which makes a man an idolater (Eph. 5).

The evil of avarice:

(a)

St Paul says that the miser is like an idolater; St Thomas explains this when he describes avarice as a capital sin.
 

(b) A sin is called "capital" when it leads us to commit many others as means to attain that which we desire. Happiness is the end desired by all, therefore the more we place our happiness in any particular good so much the more do we love that good, and desire it; and so many more are the means we shall use to attain it. Now, the miser considers that money is the source of all happiness and to him it is the good which will satisfy all his desires; from which it is easy to see why avarice leads to many other sins. It is a kind of idolatry, because the miser substitutes for God this temporal thing, the Supreme Good for a material one. It has taken Godís place in his heart

Evils effects of avarice:

(a)

The miser is like the idolater, not so much because he adores money, but because he adores it with all his heart, mind, soul and will:

(i)   As if money were his God.

(ii)  From which comes an infinity of evils.
 

(b)

St Paul gives a summary of these when he says: Those who would be rich fall into temptation, the Devilís trap for them; all those useless and dangerous appetites which sink men into ruin here and perdition hereafter. The love of money is a root from which every kind of evil springs, and there are those who have wandered away from the faith by making it their ambition, involving themselves in a world of sorrows (1 Tim. 6).

All these evils come from one fact:  Avarice takes possession of a man completely, so much so that he is blind to the harm it does him, to the evils which he is seeking and the harm he does to others and their hatred of him; we shall limit ourselves to a brief summary of the principal evils it causes:

(a)

It blinds a man. Pluto, god of riches in the Greek and Roman mythology, was blind.

(i)

The miser does not see the supernatural harm he is doing to himself; he does not see Heaven and he loses it; "he sacrifices heavenly imperishable riches; he has eyes and does not see; he abandons the true good for the false; that which lasts for that which will pass; Heaven for Earth".
 

(ii)

Which do you choose? To love temporal things which pass with time or not love them and live eternally with God in Heaven?
 

(iii)

He does not see the temporal misery in which he lives.
 

(iv)

Avarice demands more labour than God demands; whose yoke is sweet and burden light.
 

(b) It makes a man unjust and rapacious; he no longer thinks of the rights of others. If, for the Fathers of the Church, not to give alms is to steal, what must be said about the miser? The rich man in the Gospel died and was buried in Hell (Luke 16:22).
 
(c) It hurls man into the most horrible crimes, wars, treachery, hatred between brothers, murder ... Judas.
 
(d) It makes a man ungrateful and envious; ungrateful to God and envious of his fellow men.