Sunday, October 30, 2022

Met Antonios (el-Souri): Wealth and Poverty

 Arabic original here.

Wealth and Poverty

"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Matthew 8:20)

The greatest state of impoverishment is when someone does not have a place to rest his head-- no home, no one to ask about him, and no one to take care of him. The most difficult is when this person lives under the gaze of others and is neglected, outcast or despised. A person sometimes becomes nothing in the eyes of others, like he does not exist or is not loved... For you to exist in a state of not being loved means that you live in a state of being oppressed by people, that you are hidden from existence for them...

But does the Lord abandon man? Does He forget him?

"He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him" (Isaiah 53:2-3). This is the image of the Servant of God, that is, Jesus Christ our God who came and shared our wretchedness, our poverty, our suffering and our estrangement. People are estranged from each other and the believer is a stranger on earth. Christ came to gather those who were scattered into one, to adopt strangers and make them the children and heirs of God.

*     *     *

In general people think their existence and its value is tied to what they own, that is, to their earthly wealth. The popular saying goes, "With you a cent is worth a cent." On the basis of possessions you merit honors. This is the logic of the world.

The essential question, however, is: from where is man's value? And from where does he derive his importance?

The answer in Christianity is that man's value and importance come from the image of God that is in him and from the extent of his resemblance to his Creator. That is, man's reality and being are not separate from God's reality and man's greatness as head of creation comes from his being distinguished in creation from all other beings, since he derives his life from the Spirit of God, that is from God Himself: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Man is dust from the earth and spirit from God. For this reason, the reality of man is that he is an earthly-heavenly being. That which is earthly is transitory and that which is heavenly is eternal. He who seeks transitory things lives in the clay of mud, the black foul-smelling clay, and is destined for dust. He who seeks heavenly things has his heart above and lives below, and so becomes an extension of the Kingdom on earth.

*     *     *

Beloved, he who seeks wealth, let him be rich in the Lord and he who is poor let him be poor for the Lord. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).

What is the use of what we own if it is not for living the mystery of communion, because God is communion of love in the mystery of unity? Man cannot rejoice if he is not rich in the Lord. That is, filled with Him. He will not rejoice in the Lord if he does not enter into communion and unity with man and with the universe. And he will not enter into communion with anything else unless he is impoverished to himself. That is, unless he lives self-emptying. And he will not live self-emptying if he does not love God first and his neighbor as himself.

Wealth is for you to gain the kingdom from this moment in communion with God and others and poverty is for you to gain the world and lose your soul...


Metropolian of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies 

No comments: