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Sunday, April 3, 2011
Drugged and Placated
If we cannot see the wretchedness of another, it means we cannot see our own pitiful misery and personal emptiness. Lost in unawareness because of greed and selfishness, but bathed in the wealth of our temporal comforts, we are drugged and placated, all the while destined for hell itself. St. Jerome has more to say . . . “Lazarus, the beggar, is called by his name because he was a saint, but the man who is rich and proud is not deemed worthy of a name . . . “The meaning of Lazarus’ name is [Greek] boethoumenos, one who has been helped. He was a poor man and, in his poverty, the Lord came to his assistance. “Who lay at his gate, covered with sores.” The rich man, in purple splendor, is not accused of being avaricious, not of carrying off the property of another, nor of committing adultery, nor, in fact, of any wrongdoing; the evil alone of which he is guilty is pride. Most wretched of men, you see your own body lying there outside your gate, and have you no compassion? If the precepts of God have no meaning to you, at least take pity on your own plight, and be in fear lest you become such as he. Why do you save what is superfluous to your pleasure? Give in alms to your own member what you waste . . .” (Saint Jerome (+419) was a hermit and Scripture scholar.)