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The Rich Man and Lazarus


Saint Augustine of Hippo

Are you poor? Like Lazarus covered with sores, put your trust in him. Lazarus was poor, Abraham was rich. When we hear in the Gospel that that poor man with his sores died and was carried up by angels to Abraham's bosom, all the beggars, the sore-infested, the cripples, the rejects—when they hear that reading, what do they say? "He was talking about us." Perhaps a poor man in want, scarcely able to support himself, or a beggar perhaps, notices some rich man standing in God's house clothed appropriately to his station. When he hears that reading he says, "He was talking about me; I too, when I die, am going to be carried up by angels to Abraham's bosom." He hears the Gospel say in the same place about the rich man, that when he died he began to be tormented in hell. When the poor man hears this he says to himself, "He said that about me, this about him over there."...

He rewards loving kindness with a crown, not poverty. Sure, God is not going to say in his judgment, "Let the nobleman approach me, let the commoner depart from me." But neither is he going to say, "Let the commoner approach me, let the nobleman depart from me." What he is going to say is, "Let the just approach, let the unjust depart."

So, poor man, hold onto loving kindness if you want to arrive. If you really want to know that what the Lord chose is loving kindness, and it's not riches that he condemned— the poor man was carried up—but where to?—to Abraham's bosom. Read what Abraham was, and you will find he was rich. The rich man went ahead and prepared hospitality and a home for the poor man. That's just what you have in the psalm, all together, rich and poor (Ps 49:2).

Let us glorify God and our Lord Jesus Christ in our good works, and say from the bottom of our hearts, have mercy on me, Lord have mercy on me, because— not in gold, not in silver, not in honor, not in wealth, not in a powerful friend, not in a crowd of supporters, not in a retinue of servants, but—in you my soul has put its trust.

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister." 


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