Word of the Month

But you are rich

October 2002

"I know your works, tribulation and poverty (but you are rich)." (c.f. Revelation 2:9). At first glance, it would seem that these words from Revelation are a contradiction. How is it possible for someone who is in tribulation and poverty to be rich? Let us consider this statement from the perspective of "divine logic", however, and then its true meaning will become clear.

On our way of life and also on our path of faith we encounter many tribulations: problems and burdens; concerns and worries - among them also those that we have caused ourselves - questions, for which we have not yet received an answer, that torment us; physical illness often over years; sadness over the parting of a loved one. Still worse are the pains of the soul, such as temptation, the encumbrances of sin, or the pain that results when one of our loved ones turns away from the work of God. Is it not a comfort, in all of these situations, to know that the Lord knows our tribulation?

It may be that we go through many things that do not please us, and that we do not understand, but still the words of the prophet of old apply: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11). At the end of our earthly path of suffering waits eternal glory with the Lord. How rich are we not in being permitted to believe this!

In the Sermon on the Mount the Son of God declares: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3). He who in humbleness recognizes that he is poor in spirit, that he lacks divine virtues on account of his imperfections, is ready and able to accept God's gifts of grace, he is receptive for heavenly substance that will bring him salvation. In this manner, he can become blissful and attain the highest state of bliss of the soul: his is the kingdom of heaven. Is there any greater wealth?

But also here on earth we are already rich: through word and grace. In the Psalms we read: "Through Your precepts I get understanding," and "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (c.f. Psalms 119:104.105). Accepting God's word and possessing it signifies wealth. Grace redeems us and makes us free of the claims of the evil one, independent of all spirits. By receiving the sacraments we attain complete salvation. Are we always conscious of this wealth?

Let us not forget our childhood in God. In His love and mercy God has chosen us to be His children, before the foundation of the world, and elevated us to become heirs of His glory. What good would there be in any title, honour or rank if we were to lose our childhood in God? Let us engage all our strength, our faith, our zeal, our joy, our willingness to reconcile and our will to overcome in order to stand worthily before Him at His appearing. How often has God not had reason to turn away from us, but instead, in His love and loyalty, He continues to grant us grace and thus makes us rich.

God the Father, the source of all light, grants us the fullness of divine light in His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. He has promised to come again and take His own unto Himself. Having received the Holy Spirit and become a bearer of this promise, believing it and keeping it alive in our hearts—that is true wealth. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of it. Let us remain watchful and wait for the Lord: He will fulfil His promise quickly.

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)