The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

The Things We Tell Ourselves - The Rich Fool


Good Deeds: Cultivating a Life of Virtue 

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present good deeds cultivating a life of virtue, a seven part lecture series. These lectures expound the place of good worksin the salvation of the Christian the nature of virtues and vices and the traditionalmeans for cultivating virtue in the Christian life. Saint John of Damascus, in histext on the virtues and the vices in the Philocalia, writes that everyman is said to be made in the likeness of God as regards his imitationof God through virtues and God like actions. The study and cultivation of virtue isthe quest both to love God and also to become a true human being. The lecture titles include Lecture One, good deeds, understanding virtues and vices. Lecture two, the Cardinal Virtue of Justice, Lecture Three, the cardinalvirtue of of Wisdom. Lecture for, the Cardinal Virtue of courage, LectureFive, the cardinal virtue of temperance. Lecture six, conquering the seven deadlysins. Lecture seven, after God, the failure of the secular ethic.For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dotorg. And now the arena with Father...

Josiah Trenna. In the name ofthe father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, a blessed Lord'sthey to all of you, brothers and sisters. Thank you, and ablessed second day of the Feast of the mother of God's entrance into the temple. I've entitled my Hobbily this morning the things we say to ourselves, thethings that we say to ourselves. The homily derives that title from the ShortGospel Text you just heard, the parable of the rich fool. It's onlyfrom Verse Sixteen to Verse Twenty One of Chapter Twelve of St Luke's Gospels.Very Short Gospel text full of deep application for us. The context, whichwasn't read in verses thirteen to fifteen. The context for this parable of therich fool is that a man approached Jesus to help him with a dispute abouthis inheritance. Apparently his father had died and he was dealing with his father'sestate and he was having a conflict with one of his siblings. Sound familiar? It should. I'll tell you one of the most really sad and grotesqueaspects of being a priest and bring a pastor. Specifically, is witnessing theutterly horrifying reality that often accompanies family relations at the time of a death andhow breed play on Nexia, which is mentioned in this Gospel text. Rightcompetousness poisons the most intimate of relationships and even disgraces the memory of the personbeing buried. We don't know exactly what the context was here. What exactlyit happened? We didn't we don't know...

...what the man's concern was specifically.Was He himself trying to cut his brother out? was his brother maybe olderthan him and trying to cut him out? We don't know, but we knowthat. We know that it was bad and Jesus absolutely would not countenancethe men. Would not deal with him at all. He said, whomade me a judge or a divide or an arbiter over you? Jesus refusedto play judge and he refused to play lawyer. If he had wanted to, he would have done it perfectly. He is the judge and he isthe law giver. But those were untimely requests. Jesus had not come tojudge, nor had he come to be trivialized into being some person who solvessome sort of financial inheritance problem completely disregarded the men. You know, Irecently was updating my own will as my family has grown, as I havegrandchildren now, and I've been contemplating, you know, having to updated andmake some changes and put in some things here and there. Plus, I'velearned a lot. I've learnt a lot through the brutal experience of pastoring throughdifficulties like that. I heard from someone a very good piece of advice andit goes like this. It's a simple sentence that can be added to yourwill or to your trust and it can solve a lot of problems for yourchildren or your heirs and you. Simply, it simply says this. Anyone whocontests this trust is completely disinherited, period. Anyone who can tests thistrust is completely disinherited, period. That's...

...the context, that's the background,and then we get the incredible parable. The parable begins with a reflection thatthe man is making with himself. It says the man thought to himself.That's where it began. In fact, brothers and sisters, that's where everythingbegins. Before something becomes an action, it starts as a thought. Thisis why taking custody of your mind, learning to lift your mind up andset it on the things above, learning to acquire the mind of Christ,is the first and most important thing to do in the development of the Christianlife. It's the only place to start. If you want good actions to follow. You have to cultivate beautiful thoughts and you have to resist evil thoughts. This poor man, everything went bad for him because he was thinking withinhimself, speaking to himself, and his thoughts were absolutely rotten. He hadn'tcultivated the proper thoughts about many important things, for things, in fact four things, that he did not have Jesus's mind about at all. The firstwas the concept of ownership and possessions. This man said in this short littletiny parable only three verses had to do with him, and in those threeverses, five times he said the no, no word, my my fruits,my crops, my barnes, even... soul. He had the wrongmind, brothers and sisters, about ownership. He thought that his land, hiscrops, they're yield, even his own soul was his. What afoolish thought. Where in the world would he have gotten that atheistic idea?None of the things like that, not even our own souls, belong tous. Everything has been given to us as a gift from God, asa stewardship, and our souls even were stewarding which is why, at theend of this text, Jesus says, this night, your very soul isdemanded of you. He couldn't even hold on to his own soul, letalone all his physical possessions. That's his first terrible mistake. We should notmake the same mistake. Everything a sacred trust from God, a stewardship givento us by God. Number two, he had the wrong thoughts about theusage of possessions. He actually thought that when your possessions are increased, theright thing to do is to hoard them. Now he might have put a nicecover on it and called it savings. His crops increased had nothing to dowith him. The land, it says, was fruitful. It wasa clear gift from God, and he thought God was giving him an abundanceso that he could have more wealth. And then he put all of hisenergy and all of his thoughts around the question, what do I do withthis wealth? How do I preserve it... How do I make surethat it doesn't spoil? How can I guarantee that it's going to continue togive me all the money I need so I don't have to worry about workingand I can just it says, eat, drink and be merry, which isa refrain that's very ancient. Even the Greeks used it to describe complete, mindless carelessness. This man had a bogus idea about retirement versus salvation.He thought that God gave him these things so he didn't have to work anymore, so he could just be at ease. I said to my soul, soul, be at ease. What words could the devil love better than that? My soul be at ease in this world, in this life, withthe sin that we have in the core of our heart? Are you kiddingme? My soul be at ease, poor man, completely the wrong ideaabout that, about usage, the usage of possessions. The right thought shouldhave been God has blessed you abundantly. How best should I use this forhis glory? Who can benefit from the prosperity that God gave to me?And once I identify who can benefit from it. What's the best way tolet them benefit? How can I do it that it will be most helpfulto them? How can I do it in the most secretive way so thatI don't lose my own reward? This is the mentality of the church.This is the mind of Christ. With regards to possessions, we give thanksto God for them, and if we have more than we need, wedon't just keep increasing what we say we need. We consider that abundance tobe given by God to share, to bless people's lives, to advance thecause of the church, to enrich charitable... This is the mind ofthe church. He's this poor man didn't have it. His thoughts were socorrupted. In fact, the third concept that he had completely wrong was theconcept of life itself. He thought the good life, he thought the goodlife was not working and the good life was just being rich, managing hismoney. No one else was involved in his concept of the good life,which is why Jesus said so clearly, even when you have an abundance,life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. That's not what life is. If that's true, Jesus had no life at all. But he notonly had life, he was overflowing with life and abundant life that he givesto all of his disciples. And our Savior didn't constitute life by physical possessions. He constituted life by doing his father's will and living the life of sacrificiallove. That is significant life. And then the fourth mistaken thought death.This man had all these twisted up ideas, he was so malformed and perhaps thesaddest one of all was that he had no place in his thoughts fordeath. This was his mistake. His mistake is that he wasn't even thinkingabout death. And of all the four, ownership, usage, life and death, of all the four, with regards to relevance to us in ourown context where we live, I think this is the most important one ofall. If we can get this one, the other three will follow. Theman would would not think about death and therefore he was caught unprepared fordeath because because he didn't think about it,...

...because he thought somehow that even hissoul and his life was his instead of being loaned by God with nopromise attached to it of length. The Lord has appointed a day for allof us. We have no idea where that when? That is? Wehave no idea. Today we're going to have a memorial, just like wedid last week. Today we're going to have a memorial not for Metropolitan Amphilohe who, in the course of righteousness, contracted coronavirus and died this week.We're going to have a memorial for our father, His Holiness Patriarch iarina, the Patriarch of Serbia, who, in a course of righteousness himself,that is presiding over all of the beautiful funeral rights for his beloved brother,Metropolitan Amphiloh he, in the presence of hundreds of thousands of the Faithful,himself, contracted coronavirus and died this week. May God rest his soul, Ninetyyears old and upright and strong. And what a beautiful way to go, what a marvelous, marvelous way to end his virtuous ministry. That's themind of the church, always to be thinking about death. You know,brothers and sisters, we think that it's important every day, every day,to remember how tenuous our life is and that our life is in God's handand he hasn't promised us tomorrow. This is why it's important to use yourtime wisely and to make yourself rich towards God, not towards the Earth.Don't be obsessed with obtaining that which you can't keep. Death will steal itfrom you, I promise you. Instead,...

...put your effort on obtaining that whichdeath can't touch, which is faith, good works, sacrifice, the gloryof God. None of these things can be touched by death and theywill constitute a crown for all of us in the next life if we canremember death. The father say a day can't be lived properly unless we judgeit to be the last day of our life. And See, John ofSignai and his ladder dedicates step six, which is very early on right.That's the bottom twenty percent of the thirty steps of spiritual development on the wayto Paradise. Steps steps is given to the remembrance of death. The things, the thoughts that we cultivate determine everything. The things we say to ourselves determinewhether we end up a rich fool or a say. May God giveus the mind of Christ and a great inheritance. Amen. We hope thatyou have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by PatristicNectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweetteachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles,or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit ourwebsite at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectardot org.

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