Monday, July 16, 2007


Do you feel sorry for millionaires? The responsibilities! The extra effort required in the spiritual life! The daily facing people who want part of your wealth! The complication of financial affairs! The burden of having to decide and pick out the car of your preference instead of having to settle for the one that you can afford.

Bet you don’t. Unless you are a millionaire. If you are not one, there tends to be very little sympathy. “Life is hard,” it is thought, “but it is sure a whole lot easier if you have a few bucks to see you through.” But one only has to look at the ruined lives of those who win the lottery or those whose lives crash because everyone bends to their whim in awe of their resources never supplying them with the needed societal boundaries that would keep them on track.

I set before you a blessing and curse.

People with good looks rarely get any sympathy either. More often than not I think lesser looking people would fall into envy rather than think on any burden that may be involved. Even I fall into the thought pattern every now and then of, “I’d like to look like that.” (Though being a celibate, I do not exactly what I would do with my newly found good looks.)

Yet for all the good fortune that we assume goes hand in hand with looking beautiful, there are many traps also. Being beautiful does give a person many breaks and opportunities that those who are beauty impaired are not given. But conversely I’ve seen equal amounts of beautiful people crying out for structure, accountability, and, in a way, acceptance and failing because everyone wants to be a friend of the good-looking person. More people may want to be your friend or even your lover, but just as often they want to take advantage of and use a beautiful person. A beautiful person may have an easier time making friends quickly, but they also have some friends because of how they look, not because of who they are. They may be given many breaks because of their beauty, but they can also be horribly unprepared to deal with everyday life when that beauty fades or suddenly disappears.

You cannot tell a book by its cover, but we try just the same. But how is it that God must see us? “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7. What if appearance did not register at all with us and we dealt with each other solely on the basis of the appearance of our souls?

Honor and virtue are ornaments of the soul, without which the body, though it be really beautiful, ought not to be thought so.” Don Quixote

In the next life we might be surprised at who is truly beautiful and who is not. Beauty is wedded to truth without which beauty is empty; it is a lie. There will be those who are thought both ugly and beautiful in this life who will be radiant as the stars in the sky come the next, and those ugly and beautiful who will fade like the grass in the fields.

Rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, all have hurdles to overcome. It is said that one third of the world is starving and another one third is eating themselves to death. Because someone has a gold ring does not that life is easy or that their soul is saved. Because someone is hungry does not mean that they are sad or that their souls are not mightier than most powerful man on earth. Remember it was Lazarus who was named and went to heaven while the rich man remains anonymous and did not. (Luke 16:19-31)

All of us are needy. All of us called to service. Never assume that someone has it all. They may be the ones most in need.


Anonymous said...

Excellent perspective! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying this. There is, of course, an enormous amount of injustice produced by greed, but greed is by no means a sin exclusive to the wealthy!

The well-to-do so often get a bad rap, just because they have, while others have not (and a whole lot of THAT is not righteous anger at all. It is indeed very often born of jealousy and sour grapes, and thus, is a failing similar to the one mentioned in the Bible of resenting the latecomer to the workday who gets paid the same amount. (God knows, we even criticize the wealthy's choices of charities! No wonder they hide them.)

I've made a pitstop all along the way of the length of the economic ruler, and how true it is that it's an enormous test of many things to have money, but most especially a test of soul, yes, because whatever we have more than enough of, is indeed rather stolen from those who do not have enough. Having more is the rich's opportunity for spreading grace. If not for that sharing, many of us wouldn't have lasted, or perhaps, wouldn't have gone to college, wouldn't have beaten our cancer, etc.

Indeed, all suffer.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that some of my other friends envy because he seems to have it all: looks, charm, money, accolades, health, family, car, boat, plane. They don't know how unhappy he is. Until a man finds meaning and purpose in life, nothing satisfies.

Anonymous said...

Beauty is a gift from God--that's why we are so attracted to it. But then in this fallen world, Satan turns beauty to his own evil designs--he corrupts the beauty of women by turning them into sex objects--other women become very jealous--especially when their husbands lust after other women--it hurts relationships. Then the beauty that God made for us to enjoy and appreciate becomes loathsome and creates problems.

When I was younger, I wasn't too sore on the eyes--but it created problems--I could not even go into the grocery store without being asked out, given the old evil eye by other women and had lewed advamces made by men. I like myself now, old, nobody is interested in me anymore but my husband--I like it better this way.

paramedicgirl said...

Father Corapi said that beauty is a gift that is seldom returned to God. When I see pictures of Mother Theresa, I always see her as beautiful. She has a beauty of the soul that shines through in every photograph of her I have ever seen.

In regards to riches and "having it all" I often think that it would be better to have your treasure in heaven than to be rewarded here on earth.