John Tauler was a Dominican father who lived in the XIV century. He is a famous spiritual writer and preacher. When he was at the beginning of his Christian life, he was giving the firsts steps on the spiritual life, he was guided by God to a church. God show him that in that church he was going to find the spiritual master he was looking for.
When he arrived at the church, a beggar was at the entrance of it. God showed him that that beggar was the person he was looking for. Although he did not want to talk with this person, he denied himself a started talking with the beggar. Immediately, he realized that the beggar was a spiritual person.
Amazed by the beggar’s wisdom, John Tauler asked him: where did you find God? And the beggar answered him: in the same place I left the creatures.
This anecdote can help us to understand the reason why Jesus says: Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:23). Richness or wealth is an obstacle to find God in this life since wealth attracts us and distracts us from our final destiny. There are many reason why the riches are an obstacle to go to God.
I would like to just mention one: money and material goods make us be selfish. Detachment from material things make us be charitable. In fact St. Thomas says: “poverty is the first foundation for acquiring the perfection of charity.
Poverty or the detachment from riches help us to pay attention to the only important reality: the religious reality or the eternal reality. Attachment to material things make us pay attention to earth and be worried about this earth.
Spiritual reality and earthly reality are incompatible realities. If we are worried about material thing we forget the spiritual ones; if we are worried about the spiritual ones we will not be worried about material things. That is why, it is difficult for a rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven, since he did little or nothing to go to heaven.
We must be careful since poverty does not only mean not to have richness, but rather not to be attached to material things or money. I can have few things but be attached to them or make them my first care and I will be in the same situation than a rich man on the day of my judgement.