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The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - Printable Version

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The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - alphonsusjr - 01-21-2012

Friends,

Like many of you, I'm sure, my appetite for spiritual reading is insatiable. There are so many great things I want to read that I often fail to maintain focus on any one work; thus I'm often reading many such books at the same time. True it is, I'm in the unique situation of having eyes which circumnavigate my head (12 total eyes), so this makes it easier to read them all simultaneously. Just kidding! But seriously, you get what I mean.

This has disturbed me for some time. Happily, I recently came across this section of an Advent sermon by St. Francis de Sales:

"The second reason [why people do not profit by the word of God] is 'spiritual avarice,' by which we seek to obtain a great deal of knowledge and to amass a huge stock of devotional exercises. You will find some people who never tire of amassing new writings and instructions, all sorts of spiritual advice and information, and who nevertheless do not put any of it into practice! And what is that if not spiritual avarice, a truly serious fault in the devout life? You will find others who must always be hearing and seeing something new. To attract attention they collect innumerable books and create libraries that are wonders to behold. 'Poor creatures, what is the purpose in all that?' They will respond: 'Oh, we are practicing foresight in anticipating our future needs. When older, we can make good use of them.' 'O God! do you not realize that Our Lord strongly desired to remove such avarice and anxiety from His disciples' hearts and commanded them to live from hand to mouth and to have no anxiety about tomorrow?'

"Indeed, among the ordinances which God imposed on the children of Israel was the command to collect only a certain measure of manna [Ex. 16:16], that is, only what was necessary for each one's daily portion. Furthermore, he commanded that no one should store any for the morrow, that no one should gather more than was specified in an attempt to make provision, for it would breed worms and rot [Ex 16:19-20]. Live each day well, eat what is given you, and you will nourish yourself well by putting that into practice. Leave the rest to Divine Providence, which will surely provide sufficiently for your needs. Use well only what is given you, and be free of all other care."

Wonderful!

The problem is that, but for my spiritual avarice, I wouldn't have found this very sermon! Also, given the Vatican II rot, I'm afraid of not sufficiently arming myself against it and thus being taken in by it. What to do?


Re: The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - Scriptorium - 01-23-2012

It's the put into practice that is the key. I find many traditional Catholics that I meet are most interested in reading about Catholicism, reading about tradition, reading about problems, reading, reading, reading, discussing, discussing, discussing, ad infinitum. All that is just theory and chatter if you're not putting it into practice. The plain fact is that if we were practicing, we would be reading less. It doesn't take a library of books to figure out what's going on and the truth. A little information goes a long way. I spent a good five years educating myself about the Faith because I never was educated. And that was necessary in order to provide a foundation. It was challenge to then actually put into practice what I had been reading. When free time came, I picked up a book. I didn't pick up my heart and pray. Most people resist this part because it takes effort, dedication, and perseverance. The storyline is not given to us. We become what we despise. Do we respect a parent or preacher who is all talk and no action? Do we respect a president who says one thing and does another? We need to move beyond theory and go into action after our education. We have to live the Faith. And that's the best education anyways. Education is great, but there comes a time when we start our career, and only refer to books when a question comes up. Reading and education should not be the bulk of our "spiritual" time. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child."


Re: The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - newyorkcatholic - 01-23-2012

(01-23-2012, 10:46 AM)Scriptorium Wrote: It's the put into practice that is the key. I find many traditional Catholics that I meet are most interested in reading about Catholicism, reading about tradition, reading about problems, reading, reading, reading, discussing, discussing, discussing, ad infinitum. All that is just theory and chatter if you're not putting it into practice. The plain fact is that if we were practicing, we would be reading less. It doesn't take a library of books to figure out what's going on and the truth. A little information goes a long way. I spent a good five years educating myself about the Faith because I never was educated. And that was necessary in order to provide a foundation. It was challenge to then actually put into practice what I had been reading. When free time came, I picked up a book. I didn't pick up my heart and pray. Most people resist this part because it takes effort, dedication, and perseverance. The storyline is not given to us. We become what we despise. Do we respect a parent or preacher who is all talk and no action? Do we respect a president who says one thing and does another? We need to move beyond theory and go into action after our education. We have to live the Faith. And that's the best education anyways. Education is great, but there comes a time when we start our career, and only refer to books when a question comes up. Reading and education should not be the bulk of our "spiritual" time. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child."

LOL, describes me well.  Often I'd rather read about prayer instead of praying.  So stupid!


Re: The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - TrentCath - 01-23-2012

(01-21-2012, 08:54 PM)alphonsusjr Wrote: Friends,

Like many of you, I'm sure, my appetite for spiritual reading is insatiable. There are so many great things I want to read that I often fail to maintain focus on any one work; thus I'm often reading many such books at the same time. True it is, I'm in the unique situation of having eyes which circumnavigate my head (12 total eyes), so this makes it easier to read them all simultaneously. Just kidding! But seriously, you get what I mean.

This has disturbed me for some time. Happily, I recently came across this section of an Advent sermon by St. Francis de Sales:

"The second reason [why people do not profit by the word of God] is 'spiritual avarice,' by which we seek to obtain a great deal of knowledge and to amass a huge stock of devotional exercises. You will find some people who never tire of amassing new writings and instructions, all sorts of spiritual advice and information, and who nevertheless do not put any of it into practice! And what is that if not spiritual avarice, a truly serious fault in the devout life? You will find others who must always be hearing and seeing something new. To attract attention they collect innumerable books and create libraries that are wonders to behold. 'Poor creatures, what is the purpose in all that?' They will respond: 'Oh, we are practicing foresight in anticipating our future needs. When older, we can make good use of them.' 'O God! do you not realize that Our Lord strongly desired to remove such avarice and anxiety from His disciples' hearts and commanded them to live from hand to mouth and to have no anxiety about tomorrow?'

"Indeed, among the ordinances which God imposed on the children of Israel was the command to collect only a certain measure of manna [Ex. 16:16], that is, only what was necessary for each one's daily portion. Furthermore, he commanded that no one should store any for the morrow, that no one should gather more than was specified in an attempt to make provision, for it would breed worms and rot [Ex 16:19-20]. Live each day well, eat what is given you, and you will nourish yourself well by putting that into practice. Leave the rest to Divine Providence, which will surely provide sufficiently for your needs. Use well only what is given you, and be free of all other care."

Wonderful!

The problem is that, but for my spiritual avarice, I wouldn't have found this very sermon! Also, given the Vatican II rot, I'm afraid of not sufficiently arming myself against it and thus being taken in by it. What to do?

I'm like this with theology, my bank manager does NOT like me  :LOL:


Re: The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - JacafamalaRedux - 01-23-2012

I'm thinking that spiritual avarice can't last. Either you go back to the world or what you're reading actually motivates you to start praying.


Re: The Vice of Spiritual Avarice - newyorkcatholic - 01-24-2012

(01-23-2012, 06:52 PM)Jacafamala Wrote: I'm thinking that spiritual avarice can't last. Either you go back to the world or what you're reading actually motivates you to start praying.

Unless you delude yourself into thinking that religious preoccupations make you virtuous.

But otherwise, good point.