When the Three Universal Categories of Love Are Prioritized in the Right Way They Improve Us; When They Are Not Prioritized in the Right Way They Damage Us and Turn Us Upside Down (Continued)

We take on a completely different condition if love for the world or for wealth constitutes the head, meaning that this is our dominant love. Then love for heaven leaves the head and goes into exile in the body. People who are in this state prefer the world to heaven. They do indeed worship God, but they do so from a love that is merely earthly, a love that leads them to take credit for all their acts of worship. They also good things for their neighbor, but they do them to get something back in return.

In the case of People like this, heavenly things are like the clothes in which they strut about, garments that we see as shining but angels see as drab. When love for the world inhabits our inner self and love for heaven inhabits our outer self, then love for the world dims all things related to the church and hides them as if they were behind a piece of cloth.

Love for the world or for wealth comes in many forms, however. It gets worse the closer it approaches to miserliness. At the point of miserliness the love for heaven becomes dark. This love also gets worse the closer it approaches to arrogance and a sense of superiority over others based on love for oneself. It is not as detrimental when it tends toward wasteful indulgence. It is even less damaging if its goal is to have the finest things the world has to offer, like a mansion, fine furniture, fashionable clothing, servants, horses and carriages in grand style, and things like that. With any love, its quality depends on the goal that it focuses on and intends to reach.

Love for the world and for wealth is like dark crystal that suffocates light and breaks it only into colors that are dull and faded. It is like for or cloudiness that blocks the rays of the sun. It is also like wine in its first stages–the liquid tastes sweet, but it upsets your stomach.

From heaven’s point of view, people like this look hunchbacked, walking with their head bent down looking at the ground. When they lift their head toward the sky, they strain their muscles and quickly go back to looking downward. The ancient people who were part of the church called people of this kind “Mammons.” The Greeks called them “Plutos.”

from True Christianity, Section 404

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