814. Why has God given wealth and power to some, and poverty to others?
“To try them in different ways. What is more, as you know, it is the spirits themselves who select those trials, which they often fail.”
815. What trials should human beings dread the most, wealth or poverty?
“They are equally dangerous. Poverty inspires complaints against Providence, while wealth stimulates all kinds of excesses.”
816. While rich people have more temptations to do evil, do they also have more means of doing good?
“That is precisely what they do not always do. They often become selfish, proud, and greedy. Their wants increase with their fortunes, and they never think they have enough, even for themselves."
Elevation in this world and authority over our fellow beings are trials that are just as difficult as those of misfortune are. The richer and more powerful we are, the more obligations we have to fulfill, and the greater our means of doing both good and evil. God tries poor people by submission, and the rich by the use they make of their wealth and power.
Wealth and power breed all the passions that bind us to matter, and keep us from reaching spiritual perfection. This is why Jesus said: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”(See no. 266)