The richest man in the world

Those who have taken the time to read and study the New Testament often come to the conclusion that Jesus held a certain animus toward those who were wealthy, that he saw money and riches as intrinsically evil. It is easy to see why one might assume this. But then, as is often the case, this assumption would fail to capture the true intent of what Jesus was telling his disciples. The problem is we tend to focus on the target and miss the mark.

This past Tuesday I spent three wonderful hours visiting with a dear cousin and her husband, who is living large the final few months of his earthly life. By all measures he is one of the wealthiest, richest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. As an attorney he has attained a well-deserved income and is monetarily wealthy. But this acquired wealth does not define him, nor has its accumulation ever been important to him.

As we spoke (mostly he spoke and I listened) it became abundantly clear where his true wealth could be found. At 60 years of age, married for 38 years, the father of six children, and fifteen grandchildren, he spoke of the richness and depth of the faith that his family had living in today’s secular world. He spoke proudly of the fact that all his children were actively and enthusiastically Catholic and how amazed he was that it was so. Extremely intelligent, with a quick wit and an agile mind, he would not admit that their faith was in any way a product of his own devotion.

While he was in obvious pain, he spoke only of his many blessings that God had bestowed on him, how he had been given the opportunity to help found John Paul II The Great University, his many years devoted to Marriage Encounter, of the countless people that had enriched his life just by knowing them.

He said that he was not afraid of death; the only concern he voiced was for his wife, who has been his partner for their entire adult lives. He wondered whether she was prepared for the impending separation. I got the sense that he was going to miss her greatly. They have been involved with Marriage Encounter for nearly 30 years and from that they have learned to dialog with each other every day, especially now. I heard them tell how they were still discovering new things about each other and their bond was both palpable and real.

As I was leaving there was a sense of finality, of completion, of a life full and overflowing and yet a feeling of anticipation and joy. He honored me by asking for a blessing; how could I refuse the richest man in the world.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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