It is foolish to consume the days accumulating what is not to be enjoyed; it is madness also to pile up for the children. Children who see forming a heap of gold for themselves are strongly tempted to sit and fold their arms. To prepare a fortune for them is often to invite them to the sin of laziness. And, moreover, that of the children is not at times but a respectable pretext; raise the veil and you will see the egoism, the selfishness that finds in the property a means of extending and prolonging, in a sense, the personality that is pleased to surround itself with many things in the present and to leave much behind for the future.
Frederic Ozanam, Letter to François Lallier, November 5, 1836.
- Frederic reminds us of the futility of accumulating goods in this life, beyond what is necessary to live. As we are reminded repeatedly in the gospel, everything will be left behind, we will not be able to take it with us.
- Inequality among people remains a major problem in our time. A small percentage of the world’s population accounts for the overwhelming majority of goods, while billions of people suffer from hunger and disease in our world. There is no sin greater than that of selfishness, which is contrary to love and therefore contrary to God.
- Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that the poor are the blessed and that the Kingdom is theirs. Salvation, on the other hand, is far from those who accumulate wealth.
Questions for dialogue:
- What passages of the Word of God do we remember that are related to what Frederic tells us?
- How do I live this message in my personal life? Do I tend to accumulate goods?
- We Vincentians were called to serve the poor. Is it necessary to be poor to serve the poor? Are we so?