Chapter 34. Tenth Commandment: Embrace Poverty of Spirit • 449
WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE ALSO WILL
YOUR HEART BE (MT 6:21)
The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the
ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the
flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the
root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh com-
mandment forbids. . . . The tenth commandment con-
cerns the intentions of the heart.
—CCC, no. 2534
When Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount, he proclaimed the eight
Beatitudes as the ways to authentic happiness. The first of these stated
that poverty of spirit would enable us to inherit the Kingdom of God.
In other words, the first step on the road to joy begins with a healthy
detachment from material goods. Later on in the same sermon, Jesus
taught that building up wealth for its own sake is foolishness. We should
be more interested in spiritual riches.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth
and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor
thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also
will your heart be. (Mt 6:19-21)
The financial scandals that periodically occur in our culture remind
us that greed is a constant threat to moral behavior. It leads many to
conclude that money is the root of all evils. But in fact, “the love of
money is the root of all evils” (1 Tm 6:10). In the study of the Seventh
Commandment, we dealt with the visible acts of stealing and injustice.
The Tenth Commandment looks at the interior attitudes of greed and
envy that lead us to steal and act unjustly.
On the positive side, the Tenth Commandment calls us to practice
poverty of spirit and generosity of heart. These virtues liberate us from
being slaves to money and possessions. They enable us to have a prefer-
ential love for the poor and to be witnesses of justice and peace in the