Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Poverty of Riches (Bernard of Clairvaux)

"It is natural for a rational being always to seek those things which, in his judgment, are better and more useful for his ends; and he is never satisfied until he has acquired the things that he prefers. A man who has a pretty wife, for instance, looks round with roving eye to find a fairer woman; if he has got a costly suit of clothes, he wants one even better; however rich he is, he will be jealous of anyone who is more wealthy still. You see it happening everyday: landowners still 'lay field to field'. . . and those who live in spacious palaces and royal habitations are daily joining house to house and ever in a fever building new or taking down and altering the old - rectangular for round or round for square. And men in high position, too, are they not always on the climb, trying to hoist themselves to higher places still? There is no limit to such restlessness, because in all these things the absolute can never be attained. It is on this endless treadmill that the ungodly walk... Suppose you saw a starving man inhaling great deep breaths, filling his cheeks to stay his hunger, would you not call him mad? And it is just as mad to think that blowing yourself out with earthly goods can satisfy your reasonable soul."
(Bernard of Clairvaux from "On The Love of God", 1090-1153)

No comments:

Latest Posts