BROTHER: Is he who loves money able to believe the promises?
OLD MAN: No. If he believes, why does he possess riches? Perhaps our hope is set upon gold, or perhaps the hand of the Lord is too small to redeem
The body of our Lord is given unto us for our happiness, and His blood is the drink of our redemption, and He withholds from us the loaves of bread
and the apparel which grows old.
He who loves money is divided in his mind concerning God, and he prepares for himself pleasures before God gives them unto him; and though he rejoices
in the promises in his word, he makes them to be a lie by his deed.
True indeed is the word of our Lord which He spake, "It is as difficult for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven as it is for a camel to go
through the eye of the needle"; it is impossible to possess in one dwelling both God and mammon.
Monks should, then, not belong unto the things which are seen.
BROTHER: From what is the love of money produced?
OLD MAN: From desire, for unless a man desires he does not possess.
When a man desires, he possesses, and when he possesses he has fulfilled his desire; and when he has fulfilled his desire, he becomes greedy; and
when he has become greedy he commits fraud, and when he has committed fraud his possessions have become many.
When his possessions are many, his love diminishes, and when his love has diminished, the remembrance of God is removed from his heart.
And when the remembrance of God has been removed from his heart, the mind becomes darkened, and his understanding is blinded; and when his
understanding has become blinded, the power of discernment is darkened, and when the power of discernment has become dark, the soul loses its sight.
And when the soul has lost its sight, good is rooted out therefrom, and wickedness enters in, and sin takes up its rule; and when sin has taken up its
rule, the thought of God is blotted out, and the passions of the body are stirred up, and they seek to satisfy their needs.
And having taken that which they sought for, it is necessary for much money to be collected, and when money is multiplied, the gratification of the
body is fulfilled, and when it eats and drinks, and commits adultery and fornication, and it lies and works fraud and oppression, and it transgresses
the covenant, and destroys the Law, and treats the promises with contempt, and the lust for the things which are seen is fulfilled.
Let money be an abominable thing in our sight, and let us not love it; but if we perform the lust of the flesh it is an absolute necessity to love
money; for money belongs to the flesh and not to the spirit, even as the Apostle says,
"The flesh hurts the spirit, and the spirit the flesh, and both are opponents each of the other" (Galatians 5:17).
BROTHER: Who is, indeed, the man of excellence?
OLD MAN: He who cries out always that he is a sinner, and asks mercy from on high, whose word is laden with the feeling of discernment, and his senses
with the watchfulness of deeds; and who, being silent, yet speaks; and who, though speaking, holds his peace, and whose actions are wholly good fruits
for the life of time and the revelation of Christ.
BROTHER: What is the way of life?
OLD MAN: The going forth of a man from this world on his entrance into another.
But if a man forsakes his childhood of humility and comes to the old age of the world in his love, he reveals the way of life. To go forth truly from
this world is to be remote from it.
BROTHER: And what shall I do in respect of the world which troubles me?
OLD MAN: The world troubles you because its care is in your mind, and the love of it is in your body, and its pleasures are in your heart; forsake the
world and it will depart from you; and root up from yourself all its branches, and behold, the war thereof will die down in you.
For as long as your body seeks its gratifications, and its lust is of this world, you are not capable of life.
from E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," Seattle: St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 265-266
[Edited on 12/15/2003 by helen670]