How to Get Rich

God of Grace, I love the place I’m in, but we are not intended not to grow. So if I need to go from here, I ask, as Brother Lawrence did, that you will put me where you want me… where I’m needed most. Amen

Ï

Dear Sister Alma Rose—Is it sinful to want to be rich? If not, how can I become wealthy? —Penniless in Potsdam

The Palace of Versailles; photo by Eric Pouhier

The Palace of Versailles; photo by Eric Pouhier

Dear Penniless—Sister Alma Rose wouldn’t say “sinful”; unenlightened, perhaps. The answer to y’all’s question depends upon why y’all want to be rich, and what kind of riches y’all are seeking. Sister Alma Rose has found that those who are the saddest are the very poor and the very rich… the poor, because they struggle, and the rich, because wealth don’t satisfy them the way they thought it would do. Sister Alma Rose wishes she had thought to say this before Marsha Sinetar wrote a book about it: Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. If y’all have true abundance—friends, joy in your work, a welcoming home, and peace in y’all’s heart—then outward abundance will be likewise manifest. And if it ain’t, would you care?

Sister Alma Rose’s niece Jo Ellen wrote this bit of verse that might speak to y’all:

I Won’t Mind It If I Fall

Baking Cookies with Grandma

Baking Cookies with Grandma

I want to be a powder-scented
grandma who bakes cookies and
wears aprons and is plump and
matronly… not now, but maybe
someday soon, before my grandchildren
grow up and have to pay a duty call and
wonder if I’ll know their names when
they approach me shyly, in the Home. I
truly hope I’m not incontinent. But
I’ll be rich by then, I think, and have
my own domestic staff anticipating
every wish and bringing me my food
and drink upon a tray that has a doily,
lace, not paper, and I don’t want
ketchup in the bottle, not that I’ve the
tiniest affection for that condiment, but
still.

Today, however, I’ll be reckless and not
mind it if I fall, for I have nothing, so
I’ve not a thing to lose. And
it’s not true, not true at all, that I
have nothing, if by something is
meant “money.” There are days when dust
motes drifting in a ray of sunlight make me
giddy with delight. Perhaps I should get
out more, though I always walk the
neighborhood to see what subtle changes
have been made since yesterday. We must
have had a shower in the night; the air
smells clean, my sweet alyssum is a little
greener, and the sky is bright.

There are so many roads I wish to travel,
in the next life if I haven’t got the time in
this one. God is economical; we’re given
longings for a reason, to be satisfied in
God’s time, in their season, by God’s grace. I
can wait; I’m happy as a kitten with a junebug
in this place. 

Ï

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Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer: Saints and Angels, Pray for Us

 
Saints and angels, pray for us, and intercede,
that we may by the God of grace be blessed. For
you have seen the face of the Almighty; you
approach and comprehend the beauty of the
Holy One, much more than we, so limited in
vision and so fragile in belief. Or is it that we
see and do not know the Author of Creation
—in the shoulder of a hill as it reclines in the
embrace of Mother Earth, or in the still, deep,
sparkling pools of strangers’ eyes?

If only we could be the children we abandoned
long ago in favor of sophistication and of
freedom — though we soon enough were
disillusioned as to liberty. We found it
burdensome and wished we could be caged
again and innocent, surprised by joy.

For Paradise regained we pray — to be divested

of the heavy armor we have learned to wear,

believing it protected us; to shed anxiety, regret,

and guilt; to be instead aware of who and where

we are this very moment, undistracted by the

future or the past — to be, in fact, reborn, with

nothing added or subtracted, as when we were

formed.

 

This we are promised: God’s forgiveness,

seventy times seven, even more, surpassing our

transgressions. Are we not given morning to

remind us that we too, who dare to be, are daily

new? Why are we reluctant, then, to but accept

the full abundance of our blessedness? We

hesitate — it is unearned — forgetting grace.

 

But God is greater yet than everything the world

can tell us. Darkly through a glass we glimpse

eternity, perhaps, though half in wonder, half in

fear.

 

O Saints and Angels, show us how we might

approach the vast, the mystical and holy

presence that is Love; and as we stumble on the

path your purity illuminates, O Saints and

Angels, pray for us that we be undeceived of

evil, of disease and violence and death. For we

would walk behind him, pale reflections of his

glory, each to another, and would bind our will

to his direction, on our pilgrimage to Heaven.

Ì

Originally published in Unfamiliar Territory, Part 1, by Mary Campbell, ã 2007, Zero Gravity, LifeIsPoetry.net