Your coffers, or your hearts?
“They have not in-voked God” (Ps 52:6). Don’t such people entreat God every day? They’re not entreating God. Pay attention and with God’s help I may be able to explain this. God wishes to be worshipped gratis; he wants to be loved gratis, that is, to be loved chastely, not to be loved because he gives something other than himself but because he gives himself. One who in-vokes God so that he may become rich, is not in-voking God. One in-vokes something that one wants to come to oneself. What does in-voke mean if not to call into oneself? … If you say, “God, give me riches,” you don’t want God himself to come to you; you want riches to come to you. You in-voke something that you want to come to you. If you were to in-voke God, he would come to you; he would himself be your wealth. But as it is you want to have a full coffer but an empty conscience. God fills hearts, not coffers. What good does external wealth do you if an inner poverty weighs you down? Those who in-voke God for worldly comforts, for earthly goods, for the present life and earthly happiness are not in-voking God. (Augustine, EnPs 52, 8; PL 36, 617-618)