Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Worldly Possessions

From a homily on the Gospels by St. Gregory the Great, pope.(lib. 2 hom. 36, 11-13; PL 76, 1227-74)

  "I would urge you to forsake everything, but that I do not presume to do. Yet, if you cannot give up everything of this work. Whatever you possess must not possess you; whatever you own must be under the power of your soul; for if your soul is overpowered by the love of this world's goods, it will be totally at the mercy of its possessions.
  I other words, we must use make use of temporal things, but our hearts are set on what is eternal. Temporal goods help us on our way,. but our desire must be for those eternal realities which are our goal. We should give no more that a side glance at all that happens in the world, but the eyes of our soul are to be focused right ahead; for our whole attention must be fixed on those realities which constitute our goal.
....You see, my brothers, I dare not say to you, give up everything. Yet, if you will, you can give everything up even while keeping it, provided you handle temporal things in such a way that your whole mind is directed toward what is eternal. A man can use the world as if he were not using it, if he makes all external needs minister to the support of his life without allowing them to dominate his soul. They remain external to him and under his control, serving him without halting the souls's drive to higher things. For such men, everything in this world is there for their use, not to be desired. Nothing should interfere with your souls's longing; no created pleasure in the world should ensnare you."

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