The Words Group
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The Great Lessons
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Treasures in Heaven
your lives doing to others, as you would have them do to you.
Once there was
a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying a life
of extravagance. In the same town there lived a homeless man named
Lazarus, who sat near the gate that led to the rich man's house.
He did not ask for anything but the crumbs that fell from the rich
man's table. Stray dogs were his only friends, and they licked his
day Lazarus died and was carried by angels into the arms of Abraham.
Not long afterwards, the rich man also died, and was buried.
From the agonies
of hell he lifted his eyes full of torment, and seeing Abraham a
great way off, he cried: “Father Abraham, have mercy upon
me, and send the beggar Lazarus to comfort me! Have him dip the
tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I suffer here
in these flames!”
replied: “My son, remember that in your lifetime you enjoyed
your good things, while Lazarus knew only suffering and misery.
Now, he is comforted, and you are the one tormented. Besides, between
us is fixed a great gulf of separation, so that those who would
come to you from here cannot, neither can you cross over to us from
where you suffer.”
words, the rich man cried out: “I pray, then, that you send
Lazarus to my Father’s house. I have five brothers, and he
must warn them, so they do not end up in this hell.”
To this Abraham
answered: “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear
the rich man protested, "if one were to appear to them from
the dead, they would repent."
"If they do not repent because of the words of Moses and the
prophets, they will not be persuaded, even if one should appear
to them from the dead."
There is no
generosity in giving to those who can easily repay. Even misers
lend money when they are certain of being repaid in full. Give to
those who appear before you in need, to the destitute with no hope
of repaying your gift. Practice forgiveness, even if such persons
take advantage of your kind acts.
The poor, when
they give, contribute more than the wealthy, who give from their
abundance. The poor contribute from their need, and with great love
often give what they cannot spare.
How nearly impossible
it is for those who love money to enter the kingdom of God! It is
easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom. And yet, what is impossible
for man is made possible by God’s mercy.
Do not hoard
treasures on earth where moths and rust corrupt, and where thieves
break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where neither
moths nor rust corrupt, nor thieves break in to steal. Where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Some do good
acts only when they are certain of an audience. For these, there
is no reward. When you give, do not behave like the hypocrites,
who ring bells in the temple and parade in the streets. These have
their own reward.
Do not even
let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give quietly
and in secret; and your heavenly Father who sees such acts of kindness
will reward you openly.
Learn to give
and it will be given back to you abundantly, more than you can imagine,
multiplied and overflowing. By the same measure that you distribute
your generosity, your reward will be measured in return.
Once the investment
of a rich man yielded a great profit. Considering his increased
riches, the man said to himself, "What shall I do with my profits?"
And he came to this decision: "I will pull down my old houses,
and build ones that are greater. I have amassed immense treasure,
and will rejoice in my wealth. I will be content for many years
to come, and will spend my time eating, drinking, and being merry."
But God said
to him: "Reckless man! Do you not know that this same night
your soul will be demanded of you! When you are gone, whose will
all these things be?"
Such is the
fate of those who store up treasure for themselves, and are not
rich in the possessions of God. What merit is there in attaining
all that the world can offer, if in so doing you forfeit your soul?
What can be given in exchange for your soul, or your place in the
kingdom of heaven?