by Rev. Fr. Michael Baroudy
from The Word, April 1960
Consider if you will and visualize the people who are most unhappy, the dejected, dispirited, disheartened are not the poor in material matters, but those whose whole being vibrate to the tune of the dollar’s ring, those whose sole purpose is the accumulation of wealth. The reason for our unhappiness and misery is not wealth itself, but rather the love of it which the Bible characterizes as the “root of all evil”. In other words, the root of all evil springs from ungodly, unnatural, inordinate love for money or its equivalent. The reason is obvious. One would then have driven a wedge, created a barrier between himself and God on the one hand, and between himself and his fellow human beings on the other. Why? Because he had parted company with God. God to him is a partner and deserves recognition only as He dishes out more wealth, but he is willing and ready to deny God if he thinks God has gone back on him. The same thing is true relative to man, he is one’s friend as long as he is useful and profitable in material matters, but once that has been removed, there won’t be any more friendship.
How very different we discover other people who are happy, though poor, who set their love and affection upon God, whose very lives are fountains of love, happiness, and good will, who visualize the world as their parish, which affords them an opportunity for service, ever breathing good will to all and sundry. The reason for this is the fact that they set their love upon God and man and they feel their indebtedness to both. Their lives radiate truth, kindness, consideration and friendship. In other words, they have what money cannot buy and without which money can buy nothing. Such people are not only blessed, but they are a blessing to all with whom they come in contact. They are loved not because of what they have, but rather are loved because of what they are. Surely, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are they which hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”
Joseph Addison once said, “A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.” That this is true, we are quite ready to believe, but the sad fact is that there are many people who never attain that much-to-be-desired state of mind called peace and contentment. What is to be done about it? What is the way to find a genuine peace and contentment in life? I have noted that those who have found the most abiding peace and contentment acquired it through religious faith. The amazing thing about these people is that even in the presence of adversity and hardship, they have managed to preserve within their hearts a deep joy and unquenchable delight in living.
When you live close to God, believing He watches over you and guides you, and when you earnestly try to do His will, you will get a deep, profound conviction that “Whatever happens, happens for the best.” You have no fear nor anxiety, no petulance with incorrigible conditions, no deep, dark pessimism about the future. You simply have a sublime and trusting faith that in His own way, if you do your part earnestly in sincerity, God will take care of you.
Listen to the Divine promise. “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” PSALM 91: 14-16.
Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew - November 16
O Apostle Matthew, Thou didst hear the Voice of the Word and receive the light of faith. Thou didst abandon the office of publican and proclaim Christ God's Self-emptying. Ask that those who praise thee may receive forgiveness and great mercy.
Kontakion of St. Matthew, Tone 4
When thou didst cast away the publican's balance thou didst take the yoke of righteousness and become a merchant rich in wisdom. Thou didst preach the Word of truth and rouse the slothful by describing the Last Judgment.