Material wealth doesn’t matter for the well being of your soul. You can’t really hoard the intangibles in life either. I guess that means it’s something to be shared. I think spiritual wealth if we attempt to quantify it, comes in a few different ways.
Initially, I’d consider the divine inheritance God made for us all. He not only created heaven and earth for us but filled us with the ability to love and create. The chances, unending as they are, for redemption, give us the gift of eternal life. This merely begins the gifts bestowed on us that we don’t have to earn. These include God’s unconditional, perpetual love; His patience and forgiveness of our repeated mistakes; His constant presence, so we’re never alone; and His choice to offer up His only son (which technically counts as offering up himself, as God and Christ are one and the same). Also, His choice to become flesh and walk among us. I guess these are a few perks of having an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being on your side.
Keep in mind, these are aspects of spiritual wealth we don’t even work for. Remember, we’re also all granted the immortal parts of ourselves, our souls. These parts of us have their own intrinsic value called dignity. Dignity is defined and discussed in-depth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), with particularly helpful cross-references. I’ve hyperlinked these texts to the Holy See website, for those of you who wish to research further. These sections label seven articles of dignity: defining what it is, how we should express it, and why we have it. The ultimate goal of your dignity is that of fully devoted, lived, and expressed charity (i.e., God’s love).
“The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity” (CCC 1700).
Unearned wealth aside, let’s discuss the aspects of spiritual wealth we must continually work toward. Dignity calls us to actively work on ourselves. Your soul must live, love, and create to its fullest expression. You’re not really living life to the fullest if you only do so for yourself. Manifesting your soul power (i.e. dignity) is the accumulation and dispersal of spiritual wealth.
A Monstrous Idea
If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve often attempted to hoard my spiritual wealth. My selfishness derives itself from a place of fear and mistrust. Thinking about my past behavior, I posed a query to my friend, “Why are dragons always bad? Why can’t they be helpful, instead of monstrously selfish?”
She told me, “Dragons symbolize greed. They represent an obsessive need, of that same eternal hunger and thirst we all crave. Instead of seeking love, their desires are corrupted, thus their hoarding of material wealth. Tolkien’s dragons are an allegorical tool for this corruption of common desires (e.g. a need to feel loved or fulfilled).”
So I proposed becoming a dragon of friendship. I feel that the best-version-of-myself is present when I try to embody friendship as best I can. I want to get to a point where I’m willing to offer up my spiritual wealth by laying my life down for another without even thinking about it. True friendship is all about giving and living servant-hearted. Why not amass an incorporeal amount of spiritual wealth to give it all away? Mostly, because you can’t. Also, you should be giving it away all the time, so you only ever have small amounts.
If you could be an antithetical dragon of friendship, fire would spark impassioned blaze and warmth during despair and doubt. Talons would ward off foul gremlins of fear. Wings would carry friends to new adventures and belief in the not-so-impossible. You wouldn’t be a beast slain by St. George but advance alongside him into battle, a fellow champion against wickedness. Make yourself into a creature of legend so that the real monsters are afraid to come out.