One Minute Reflection – 27 September – Saints Cosmas and Damian (Died c 286 ) Martyrs – Wisdpm 5:16-20, Luke 6:17-23
“And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 6:20
REFLECTION – “Let us see how St Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four. We know that there are four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Justice, Prudence and Fortitude. One who is poor in spirit, is not greedy. One who weeps, is not proud but is submissive and tranquil. One who mourns, is humble. One who is just does not deny what he knows is given jointly to all for us. One who, is merciful – gives away his own goods. One who bestows his own goods, does not seek another’s, nor does he contrive a trap for his neighbour. These virtues are interwoven and interlinked, so that one, who has one, may be seen to have several and a single virtue, befits the Saints. Where virtue abounds, the reward too abounds…. Thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice has compassion, patience has peace and endurance has gentleness.
“Blessed,” it says, “are the poor.” Not all the poor are blessed, for poverty is neutral. The poor can be either good or evil, unless, perhaps, the blessed pauper is to be understood as he whom the prophet described, saying, “A righteous poor man is better than a rich liar.” Blessed is the poor man who cried and whom the Lord heard. Blessed is the man poor in offence. Blessed is the man poor in vices. Blessed is the poor man, in whom the prince of this world finds nothing. Blessed is the poor man who, is like that Poor Man Who, although He was rich, became poor for our sake. Matthew fully revealed this when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” One poor in spirit is not puffed up, is not exalted in the mind of his own flesh. This Beatitude is first, when I have laid aside every sin and I have taken off all malice and I am content with simplicity, destitute of evils. All that remains is that I regulate my conduct. For what good does it do me to lack worldly goods, unless I am meek and gentle?
Although there are many charms of delights in riches, yet there are more incentives to practice virtues. Although virtue does not require assistance and the contribution of the poor person, is more commended, than the generosity of the rich, yet with the authority of the heavenly saying, He condemns, not those who have riches but those who do not know how to use them. The pauper is more praiseworthy who gives with eager compassion and is not restrained, by the bolts of looming scarcity. He thinks that he who has enough for nature, does not lack. So the rich person is the more guilty, who does not give thanks to God, for what he has received but vainly hides wealth given for the common use and conceals it, in buried treasures. Then the offence consists, not in the wealth but in the attitude.
Purify yourself with your tears. Wash yourselves with mourning. If you weep for yourself, another will not weep for you…. One who is a sinner weeps for himself and rebukes himself, that he may become righteous, for just people accuse themselves of sin. Let us pursue order because, it is written, “Set in order love in me.” I have laid down sin. I have tempered my conduct. I have wept for my transgressions. I begin to hunger. I hunger for righteousness. The sick, when he is seriously ill, does not hunger, because the pain of the illness excludes hunger. What is the hunger for righteousness? What is the bread of which it is said, “I have been young and am old and I have not seen the righteous man forsaken, nor his seed begging bread?” Surely, one who is hungry, seeks increase of strength. What greater increase of virtue is there, than the rule of righteousness?” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church( Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5).
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thou, almighty God, that we who celebrate the anniversary of the death of Thy holy Martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, may by their intercession, be delivered from all the evils that threaten us. Through Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).