The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be
single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if
thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If
therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that
darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he
will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall
eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put
on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not
much better than they? Which of you by taking thought
can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye
thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto
you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the
field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he
not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these
things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye
have need of all these things. But seek ye first the
kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be
added unto you.
In St. John Chrysostom’s Homily 20:3 and 21:1,2 on Matthew 6, he writes:
“If you do not know, He says, what a thing it is to be injured in mind, learn it from the things of the body. For just what the eye is to the body, the same is the mind to the soul…Just as when the eyes are blinded, most of the energy of the other members is gone – their light being quenched – so also when the mind is depraved, your life will be filled with countless evils…For God, He says, gave us understanding, so we might chase away all ignorance, and have the right judgment of things; and that using this as a kind of weapon and light against all that is grievous or hurtful, we might remain in safety. But we betray the gift for the sake of things superfluous and useless… Do you see how by degrees He withdraws us from the things that now are, and at greater length introduces what He has to say regarding voluntary poverty, and casts down the dominion of covetousness?…Do not tell me of those who are rich, but of those who serve riches, since Job also was rich, but he did not serve mammon…He so possessed all those things, as if he had been a steward of another man’s goods.”
St. Jerome in his “Letter 22 to Eustochium, 33 wrote:
“A certain one of the brethren, who was stingy rather than avaricious, not remembering that the Lord was sold for thirty pieces of silver, left behind him at his death one hundred gold coins, which he had earned by weaving linen. The monks (for about five thousand of them dwell in that neighborhood in separate cells) took counsel together what was to be done with it. Some said that they should be distributed to the poor; others that they should be given to the Church; some advised that it be sent back to his parents. But Macarius and Pambos and Isidore, and the rest of those whom they call fathers – the Holy Spirit speaking with them – decided that the money should be buried with its owner, saying: ‘Your money perish with you’ (Acts 8:20). And let no one suppose that this was a cruel act. So great fear has come upon all throughout Egypt that to leave one gold piece behind is an offense.”
Clement of Alexandria writes in “Stromata”…
“…as much as possible subject the soul to varied preparatory exercise, that it may become susceptible to the reception of knowledge. Do you not see how wax is softened and copper purified, in order to receive the stamp applied to it? Just as death is the separation of the soul from the body, so is knowledge as it were the rational death urging the spirit away, and separating it from the passions, and leading it on to the life of well-doing, that it may then say with confidence to God, ‘I live as Thou wishest.’ For he who makes it his purpose to please men cannot please God, since the multitude choose not what is profitable, but what is pleasant. But in pleasing God, one as a consequence gets the favour of the good among men. How, then, can what relates to meat, and drink, and amorous pleasure, be agreeable to such a one? Since he views with suspicion even a word that produces pleasure, and a pleasant movement and act of the mind. ‘For no one can serve two masters, God and Mammon,’ it is said; meaning not simply money, but the resources arising from money bestowed on various pleasures. In reality, it is not possible for him who magnanimously and truly knows God, to serve antagonistic pleasures…”