From the pastor-Nov. 2018

Nov 10, 2018 by

A word from the pastor….

We have been discussing what the early Egyptian monastics called the passions, those things which blind us spiritually and prevent us from loving as God intended.  One of the passions that the early church talked about was avarice.  It was on the list of passions developed by a fourth-century monk named Evagrius Ponticus.  Evagrius defined avarice to mean being unwilling to share your resources with others.1

According to Evagrius, avarice comes from an inordinate fear of the future; of not having enough for one’s old age; and secondly, from an unwillingness to accept help from others, were one to need it.  By the former, Evagrius did not mean we should not plan for the future; rather, he meant fearing for a rainy day that never comes.  In our modern culture, we can fall into the false belief that possessions provide far more security than they actually do.  In speaking of an unwillingness to accept help, Evagrius was referring to a sense of shame at receiving charity.  Our modern culture, too, can make a virtue out of never being in need and even look down on those who are.  However, in the Gospels, it is those who recognize that they are in need who are able to approach Jesus.2

In discussing avarice, Evagrius was also referring to those who, due to the blindness of this passion, experienced an unrealistic sense of deprivation when they gave to others.  This can include a sense of deprivation of our inner or emotional resources.  As with all the passions, avarice comes from our woundedness.  People suffering from it can feel that they just do not have enough inner resources for all that a seemingly intrusive world asks of them, so they hold onto what little they feel they do have for dear life. They shut themselves off from an awareness of a deep-seated sense of emptiness.  Paradoxically, it is by getting in touch with that very sense of emptiness, while held in God’s supportive love through prayer, that can help them heal and realize the true abundance of God’s providence, including for their inner resources.  Then they can find a balance between giving of themselves and keeping healthy boundaries.

Wishing you all harvest blessings,

Betsy Caudill

  1. Roberta C. Bondi, To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), pp. 71- 72.
  2. Ibid, p. 72.

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