Some of my fellow bloggers have decided to come together, using the same item, and find a use for it in different ways. I knew immediately what I wanted to do. It was inspired by Father Robert Barron’s talk on The Seven Deadly Sins. If you haven’t heard of Father Robert Barron, you should stop what you’re doing & find one of his talks. He’s an amazing speaker & has so many powerful messages. He really speaks to my heart & I know you won’t be disappointed!
Attachment to material things. That’s avarice.
Most of us think we’re unhappy because we’re missing something. We’re all unhappy, and I don’t mean depressed. We’re always searching, yearning for a good that I know but I don’t yet possess. I try and I try and I try, I fill up something missing. I don’t have enough wealth. That’s my problem. I don’t have enough pleasure. I don’t have enough power. If I get enough of those and fill it up into the empty cage of my ego, then I’ll be satisfied!
Fellow sinners, fellow addicts (and there are all types of addictions) we all know that’s false, right?
What alone fills us? The supreme paradox upon which all Christianity rests at the end of the day:
It’s not throwing things in your empty cage, but rather giving your life away in Love. That’s what fills you.
See that is the Divine Life. That’s who God is.
St. Augustine says “you made us for yourself oh Lord, so my heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Well who are You? You are Love, right through.
God gives himself away.
Therefore when we give ourselves away in imitation, we are filled with the Divine Life.
God is the opposite of avaricious, God is the one who gives.
That’s all he does.
The Father gives away, that’s the Son. The Son gives back. The mutual giving of the Father and the Son: we call that the Holy Spirit . God is a community of self giving Love that the world is meant to imitate.
One thing that’s a great spiritual exercise: clean out your closet on a regular basis. I don’t mean dust it, I mean clean it out! Go through all of your clothes, look at the things you really don’t wear, what you really don’t need. Do you really need all those pants and shirts and sweaters? I’ve got about 30 sweaters and tend to wear maybe 5. Give them away.
Here’s a line from John Chrysostom: “You’ve got two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you. The other belongs to the man who has no shirt.”
“Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met in your life, everything else you own belongs to the poor. ”
Do I have what I need? yes.
Am I comfortable? yes.
The rest belong to the poor.
That’s Pope Leo the 13th. Echoed by all the popes.
How about every time you leave the house, have a ‘poor box’ next to your door. Every time you leave, put something in it. A dime, a dollar, whatever it is. But every time you leave, put something in it to remind you of the poor.
And this is a tough one, but very good exercise:
The next time you buy something, whether it’s a shirt, a car, whatever it is. Find the one you want, then buy the next one down & give the difference to the poor.
Avarice, and it might be for wealth, or pleasure, or power, or honor, will make you miserable, not happy. Let those things flow through you as a gift to others, and you will be filled with the divine life. That’s the point.
The antidote is generosity.
These words are not my own. These words are from Father Robert Barron’s talk on The Seven Deadly Sins. I was touched by this talk, and I hope you were too. To watch the entire talk, click here.