There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. (Luke 16:19-21)
This is how the rich man lived his life: he feasted. He lived for himself, as if God did not exist, as if he did not need him. He lived comfortably; he had everything in abundance. The parable does not tell us that he denied God or that he had any particular animosity towards the poor man: only that he was blind to God and simply failed to notice his fellow man in need. He always lived for himself. He preferred to find his happiness in being self-centered rather than in generosity.
In this period of Lent, the Church calls out to us frequently so that we may disengage ourselves from the things of the earth, and thus fill our hearts with God. The person who disorderedly loves the things of the earth leaves no room in his soul for love of God. “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
Failing to renounce his worldly possessions left the rich young man sad; he had many of them (see Mark 10:22). How much did that young man lose that day? He had a fistful of things which would soon slip through his fingers. Christians ought to possess goods "as though they had no goods." (1 Corinthians 7:30)
This Lenten period is an opportunity to examine our attitude to things, to events, and to ourselves. Here is a brief examination of conscience we can all make:
- Do I have and carry around with me unnecessary or superfluous items?
- Do I keep track of expenses? Do I avoid impulsive spending?
- Do I habitually give alms to people in need or to apostolic work, generously, without too much counting the cost?
- Do I support the works of mercy and the divine worship of the Church, with donations proportional to my income and expenditure?
- Am I excessively fond of gadgets and electronics? Do I have to own the latest and greatest thing?
- Do I complain when I am lacking what seems to be necessary?
- Do I make superfluous purchases through haste or lack of foresight?
Our Mother Mary will help us to purify and to bring order into the affections of our heart, so that only her Son reigns in it. Most sweet heart of Mary, guard our hearts and prepare a safe way for them.