Counsels against various types of covetousness

November 9, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 342

The folly of covetousness goes still farther, and causes you to sacrifice yourself, your body and your soul, to your miserable possessions. You are like a man who, to save his coat, exposes his body to be pierced with a dagger. In what does your conduct differ from that of Judas, if for a little money you will sell justice, divine grace, your soul itself?

The hour of death, at the latest, will compel you to make restitution if you would save your soul. How incomprehensible, then, is the mad folly which prompts you to accumulate your unlawful gains, and, by living in sin, confessing in sin, approaching the Holy Table in sin, completely deprive yourself of spiritual treasures which are incomparably superior to all the wealth of this world! Is he not devoid of reason who acts in this manner?

Endeavor, therefore, to pay what you owe, even to the smallest sum, and permit no man to suffer by your neglect. [Deut. xxiv. 15.] Do not detain the laborer’s wages, [Tobias iv. 15.] Do not compel him to seek and plead for what justly belongs to him, that he may not have reason to say that it was more difficult to obtain his wages than to earn them.

If you have the duties of executor to fulfil, beware of defrauding departed souls of help due them, lest their expiation may be prolonged because of a neglect for which you must some day heavily atone.

Pay your dependants regularly, and let your accounts be carefully kept, that they may give rise to no disputes or claims after your death.

Do not wholly leave to those who survive you the execution of your last wishes, but fulfil them yourself as far as you are able; for if you are careless of your own affairs, how can you expect others to be more diligent?

Make it a point of honor to owe no man, and you will thus enjoy peaceful slumbers, a quiet conscience, a contented life, and a happy death.

The means of acquiring these precious results is to control your desires and appetites and to govern your expenditure by your income, not by your caprices.

Our debts proceed from our ill-regulated, uncontrolled desires more than from our necessities, and consequently moderation is more profitable than the largest revenues.

Let us be convinced that the only real riches, the only real treasures, are those which the Apostle bids us seek when he tells us to fly covetousness and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, and mildness, for godliness with contentment is great gain. [1 Tim. vi. 6, 11.]

Be contented with the position in which God has placed you. Man would always enjoy peace did he accept the portion which God gives him; but, seeking to gratify ambition or cupidity, which craves more than God has given him, he exposes himself to trouble and disquiet, for real happiness or success can never be known by one who strives against the will of God.

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