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Wednesday, September 27, 2000

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St. Vincent de Paul

Proverbs 30:5-9
Psalm 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163
Luke 9:1-6

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warning: extreme danger

"Give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; lest, being full, I deny You." —Proverbs 30:8-9

Agur, in his proverbs, prayed that God would not make him rich. He asked God to provide him only with the food he needed. Agur believed that if he had more than the basic human necessities and was filled with material things, he would be in danger of denying God.

Few people fear being rich as did Agur. How many people ask for nothing material from God but the food they need? How many people think a car, TV, or new home will lead them to deny God?

Yet history has shown that material prosperity is often extremely dangerous. Moses warned: "When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses and lived in them, and have increased your herds and flocks, your silver and gold, and all your property, you (may) then become haughty of heart and unmindful of the Lord" (Dt 8:12-14). Hosea prophesied: "Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundant his fruit, the more altars he built" for idolatrous worship (Hos 10:1). Prosperity and idolatry often go hand in hand. Ezekiel prophesied: "They shall fling their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be considered refuse. Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the Lord's wrath. They shall not be allowed to satisfy their craving or fill their bellies, for this has been the occasion of their sin" (Ez 7:19). Jesus told His apostles: "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff nor traveling bag; no bread, no money. No one is to have two coats" (Lk 9:3). He warned: "I assure you, only with difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of God" (Mt 19:23).

Gospel poverty is not so much a sacrifice as a protection and a privilege. Play it safe. Only expose yourself to the dangers of being rich if the Lord insists on it. Choose to be poor as Jesus was.

Prayer:  Father, do anything necessary so I won't lose my faith.

Promise:  "Every word of God is tested." —Prv 30:5

Praise:  St. Vincent wrote: "If you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God Who chose to be poor."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000