Ordinary Time
Tuesday of the Twelfth Week

“Now Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.” (Genesis 13:2.)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“He was very rich,” as is natural for one who was not lacking in any good thing, who did not covet the goods of others, because he lacked nothing of what he would have wished to regard as his own. For this is what it means to be rich: to have what is sufficient to satisfy one’s own desires. Frugality has a measure. Richness does not. Its measure is in the will of the seeker. He was rich in cattle, in silver and gold. What does this mean?

I do not think that the intention is to praise the riches of this world but the righteousness of this man. Thus I understand cattle to be the bodily senses, because they are irrational. Silver represents the word and gold the mind. Abraham was indeed rich, because he was in control of his irrational senses. Indeed, he tamed them and made them docile, so that they might participate in rationality. His word was radiant with the brightness of faith, purified by the grace of spiritual discipline. His mind was full of prudence. And this is why the good mind is compared with gold, because just as gold is more precious than other metals, so the good mind is the best part among those that make up the human substance. So the richness of the wise man consists in these three things: in sensation, in word and in mind. Their order establishes a gradation, as we read also in the apostle: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The mind too, then, is the greatest, because it is the mind that grinds the spiritual grain to purify the senses and the word. The character of the wise man is preserved at every point.

So it is that through the simple facts of Abraham’s life great doctrines are expounded and illustrated. Rich indeed is the one who enriches even the arguments of the philosophers, who would formulate their precepts on the basis of his conduct. It was his riches, then, that Scripture had brought to light.” (On Abraham, 2.)

Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love
Your holy name,
for You never deprive of Your guidance
those You set firm
on the foundation of Your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen