I believe that the world will be saved by the Poor, and indeed by that very species of the Poor which the world looks upon as incurable, which the world suspects of having been born proof against the Virgilian "cursed greed for gold," just as goats are proof against tuberculosis. Such Poor exist, of course, but we know little about them, if only because they know very little about themselves. In no sense have they taken vows of poverty; rather God has taken these vows in their place, without their knowledge; He has made sieves of their hands so that they can hold onto nothing.
We should be deeply mistaken were we to confound these people with spenders, with wasters, with the careless. The very sign of their mysterious vocation is not that they scorn money—in fact they sometimes get to the point of thinking that they love money as much as the rest of us. But if they do love money, they do not truly desire it; rather they dream about it, and we may well wonder whether they believe in it any more seriously than children believe in ogres and fairies. God keeps them in this state of innocent curiosity regarding that monster whose thirst could not be quenched by all the blood of the human race. I say that such Poor will save the world. And they will save it without wishing to; they will ask for nothing in return, simply because they will be unaware of the value of the service they will have rendered. They will carry out this stupendous task, and they will not win a farthing in reward. They will continue just as before to argue with the drugstore proprietor, the baker, the grocer, the landlord; they will continue each month to go through their financial sleight-of-hand and high strategy; they will bend their every energy to state with precision problems more absurd than that of squaring the circle; and, imagining that they are solving them, they will waste their time thinking them solved—dreaming, for instance, that they pay their debts, that, as they themselves would put it, they are "starting off on the right foot" at last. Unfortunately this is the sort of foot they never have, and what is more they get along very well without it, for they have no real urge to run too fast after fortune. They do not want money for today; they prefer to hope that it will come tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, and it is this hope which is what they really love.
Hope. That is the word I have been wanting to get to. The rest of the world desires, covets, demands, requires, and the world calls all these things hope because it has neither patience nor insight nor honor; all it wants is pleasure, and pleasure cannot be awaited, hoped for, in the true sense of the word; waiting for pleasure cannot be described as any form of hope, but rather of frenzy, of agony.