Don’t Fear Poverty

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

little-girl-poverty-1024x683.jpg



On Wealth and Poverty
is my second book by Saint John Chrysostom, a Church Father who is venerated in both the Catholic and Orthodox Church. It is difficult to find a set of his complete works so the best I can do is read booklets like this that are focused on a defined topic area.

Sharing the Gospel​

For when thou sowest the seed, and the hearer receives it not, and does not bring forth the fruit of obedience, thou hast the reward of thy intent, laid up with God; and thou wilt receive the same recompense whether the hearer obey or disobey; for thou hast performed all thy duty.

Even if sharing your testimony and faith—from a position of love and not pride—doesn’t immediately help others come to Christ, you will still receive your reward. You shouldn’t remain silent as to how important God is to your life just because you have a hunch that your words will not be well-received by the hearer.

Do not give up on a troubled soul​

And what need is there to speak of those who, after repeated warnings, have not come to their right mind? It behooves us not to abandon or neglect even those who are diseased incurably, even if we foresee clearly that, after having had the benefit of our zeal and good counsel, they will not at all profit by it. And if this that I say seem to you unreasonable, suffer me to confirm it by things which Christ himself said and did. For we men being ignorant of the future, cannot therefore be certain, as to the hearers, whether they will be persuaded or whether they will disbelieve that which we say; but Christ, knowing both one and the other perfectly, did not cease instructing the disobedient even to the end.

Satan will not stop​

The Tempter continually goes to and fro to baffle our salvation, while he himself gains nothing, but rather is to the last degree a loser by his zeal; but still so maddened is he, that he often attempts impossible things, and attacks not only those whom he expects to cause utterly to stumble and fall, but also those who in all probability will escape his snares. Therefore, when he heard Job praised by that God who knows all secrets, he thought to be able to overcome, nor did he in his guile cease trying every method and every device in order to cause the man to fall. The Spirit of all evil and wickedness did not shrink from the attempt, though God had ascribed such grace to that just man.

We shouldn’t be upset that Satan is attacking us, or suspect that those attacks come because we are being punished by God. The Book of Job shows that even the righteous will be severely tested.

Woe to those living in wealth and luxury​

For do not tell me only of enjoying a sumptuous table, and of being clothed in silken garments, and of being followed by troops of slaves, and of proceeding in state through the public places of resort; but lay open to me the conscience of such a man, and there you shall see within great trouble on account of sins, perpetual dread, tempest, and confusion, and the reason, as in a court of justice, ascending the royal throne of conscience, sitting there as a judge, bringing forward the thought as minister of justice, racking the mind, torturing it on account of sin, and vehemently accusing it; and this state of things is known to no one else, save only God, who sees all that takes place.

[…]

…think those blessed, not who live in wealth, but in virtue; think those miserable, not those who live in poverty, but in wickedness: let us look not at the present, but at the future; let us examine, not the outward appearance, but the conscience of each man…

Enduring daily trials​

How many troubles arise each day! How great must that soul be that is not annoyed—that is not vexed, but gives thanks and praise,—that adores Him who ordains that these trials should be endured! How many unexpected things there are,—how many difficulties! And we must restrain evil thoughts, and not suffer the tongue to speak any improper word, as did the blessed Job, who praised God while he endured a multitude of ills.

[…]

Whensoever, therefore, ills, frequent and accumulated, come upon you, be not troubled nor downcast, but abide till the end. The end will turn out in every way worthy of the beneficence of God, if only you bear thankfully the things that in the meantime befall you.

True wealth​

For he who cannot restrain his desires, even if he should be surrounded by every kind of possessions, how can he ever be rich? Those, indeed, who are satisfied with their own property, enjoying what they have, and not casting a covetous eye on the substance of others, even if they be, as to means, of all men the most limited, ought to be regarded as the most affluent. For he who does not desire other people’s possessions, but is willing to be satisfied with his own, is the wealthiest of all.

st-john-and-paul-1024x518.jpg

Apologize now to not be judged later​

If thou hast defrauded any one of anything, restore it, and say with Zacchaeus “I restore him fourfold,” (Luke xix. 8). If thou hast slandered any, if thou hast been any one’s enemy, be reconciled before thou comest before the Judge. Settle every affair here, that thou mayest see that tribunal with untroubled mind. As long as we are here we have good hope, but when we come there, we no longer have it in our power to repent nor to cleanse ourselves from our sins.

Before Christ, I would apologize to someone who I believed would receive it with grace and not offend my ego. My apology was transactional and not genuine. Now, I apologize even if the old me would think that the person doesn’t “deserve” an apology or would use it as an excuse to insult me further. I do it because I made a mistake and apologizing is the right thing to do as a Christian, not as a public show of contrition or to soothe out social tension.

Material wealth is deceiving​

Just as in a play, certain men enter, wearing masks of kings and generals, and physicians and orators, and sophists and soldiers, being themselves in reality none of these; thus also, with respect to the present life, both poverty and wealth are only masks. As, therefore, when sitting in the theatre, you see one of the players on the stage, having on the mask of a king, you do not think him happy, nor think him really a king; neither would you wish to become like him; but since you know that he is some common man or other—a rope-maker, perhaps, or a worker in brass, or some one else of that sort, you do not think him happy because of his mask and his dress, nor do you judge of his condition in life by these things, but you rather look down upon him because of his insignificance in other respects. Thus in truth also, here in this present life, it is as if we were sitting in a theatre, and looking at the players on the stage. Do not, when you see many abounding in wealth, think that they are in reality wealthy, but dressed up in the semblance of wealth.

For if you remove his mask and examine his conscience, and enter into his inner mind, you will find there great poverty as to virtue, and ascertain that he is the meanest of men. As also, in the theatre, as evening closes in, and the spectators depart, those who come forth divested of their theatrical ornaments, who seemed to all to be kings and generals, now are seen to be whatever they are in reality; even so with respect to this life, when death comes, and the theatre is deserted, when all, having put off their masks of wealth or of poverty, depart hence, being judged only by their works, they appear, some really rich, some poor; some in honour, some in dishonour. Thus it often happens, that one of those who are here the most wealthy, is there most poor, as it was also in the case of this rich man. For when evening, that is, death, came and he went out from the theatre of the present life, and put off his mask, he was seen there to be poorest of all, even so poor as not to possess a drop of water, but obliged to beg for this, and not gain the object of his petition.

[…]

Whenever you see a man living in wickedness, and enjoying great prosperity, and suffering no calamity, on this account lament for him the more, because, being under the power of disease and grievous corruption, he increases his own weakness, becoming worse by luxury and indolence.

If you have an obsession with money and are possessed by the sin of greed, Satan will work to give you what you want so that your soul is condemned. Material wealth is dangerous because it allows you to be in a state just comfortable enough that you are able to ignore your soul’s calling for God.

Better to suffer in this life​

As therefore, of those who commit sin, they who suffer no ill here, undergo greater punishment hereafter; thus also, of those who live righteously, they who suffer many ills here, enjoy greater honour there. And if there be two sinners, the one punished here, the other not punished; the one who is punished is more fortunate than the one unpunished. Again, if there be two righteous men, of whom one endures more, and the other fewer trials; he that endures the most is the most fortunate, since to each will be rendered according to his work.

[…]

In a word, with respect to all punishment, if it be inflicted on sinners, it lessens the burden of sin; if on the just, it makes the soul more glorious;—and the greatest gain accrues to each of us from affliction, if only we bear it thankfully. For this is the design of punishment.

[…]

And the Scripture tells us that it is not possible to enjoy repose both here and hereafter; it cannot be.

When you ask yourself why the West has degraded, simply examine the main aims of the culture: comfort and pleasure. Everything is structured for you to be happy and fulfilled in this life. According to Saint John, this assures judgment. Accept your lot, let the sufferings expatiate your sins, and approach Judgement with a clear conscience that you are prepared to receive eternal glory.

Why aren’t there more obvious miracles?​

…if the dead arose continually to declare to us all that takes place there [in heaven], even this phenomenon would in time also be disregarded; for the tempter could, with the great ease, adapt his wicked teaching to such a state of affairs. He would be able often to feign appearances, or by preparing his ministers to feign death and burial, and exhibiting them as having risen from the dead, by these means he would introduce into the minds of those whom he misleads everything that he wished them to believe. For even now, when nothing of that kind takes place, the forms of the departed often have appeared in dreams, and have deceived and ruined many. Much more if such a state of things, nameless, that many returned from the dead, existed, that subtle spirit would involve many in his wiles, and introduce great deception into our life. Therefore God has closed the portals, and does not permit any of those who have departed to return to tell us the things that take place there; so that the tempter cannot take advantage of such a state of things, and introduce all his deceit. For, also, when there were prophets Satan raised up false prophets, and when apostles, he raised up false apostles; even when Christ appeared, he raised up false Christs; and whenever sound doctrine has been delivered, he has introduced corrupt doctrine, sowing tares among the wheat.

God has foreseen all possible methods to increase human faith and save souls. If God doesn’t allow it, there’s a reason. Don’t think that your feeble mind could have arranged this world in a way where evil would have been less.

My main complaint about this book is that I wish it was longer. It also was not singularly focused on “Wealth and Poverty” but on a multitude of other subjects that thankfully kept me engaged. Overall, it taught me not to be so quick to escape any suffering I happen to experience. If I’m able to bear it then I should, because my reward will soon come.

Learn More: On Wealth and Poverty by St John Chrysostom
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Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
"You shouldn’t remain silent as to how important God is to your life just because you have a hunch that your words will not be well-received by the hearer."

"Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think." Longfellow
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I'll have to pick up a copy of that book - and if anybody can recommend others in a similar vein, please do!

I am slowly working on bringing my husband around to seeing that material poverty is not so bad.

My dad raised me and my brothers on something like $10-15k per year, and always stressed to me that being "poor" was better than being part of the "rat race."

But he STILL managed to harbor something of an obsession with money - and when he and my mom split, they both fought over custody of all the kids, primarily for child-support-related reasons. I'm sure it didn't FEEL like greed to them, it felt like FEAR because they were both poor enough that having to make any substantial payment would be a hefty burden. But even as a kid I perceived that they were wasting more time and energy than any of their efforts could ever be worth. They were too emotional to understand that they were BOTH expending more than EITHER stood to gain, or to reserve (those who understand family courts may be nodding grimly here).

This is why I NEVER fought that fight with my ex-husband. I've loosely kept track of how much the court assumes he's been paying me, vs. what he's actually paid me, and the difference is probably close to $50k by now. If I had that $50k today, do you suppose I could use it to buy back the PEACE (in the family, AND my own peace of mind) that I destroyed/sacrificed in the fighting for it? Is there anything I could buy for $50k that is of greater value than peace of mind and familial harmony?

If anyone is still hung up on contemplating, I'll give you the answers: NO, and NO.

My husband was kind of skeptical/nervous about being the primary (typically the only) breadwinner for our family because his baseline income is under $30k. A decade or so ago he was making six figures as a single guy, so our current situation is many, MANY steps down for him in terms of material comfort. TBH I was worried early on that he might not even want to marry me because of my well-established history of not forcing my ex to pay up. It's awkward to explain to someone that you technically, legally have an "income" of almost a thousand dollars per month on paper that you don't have to work for, but regularly (voluntarily) decline to claim 50-100% of it. :oops:

It seems like he doesn't quite understand my perspective, which is to be expected - because frankly a big part of my distaste for money is emotional baggage (parents fighting about child support, ex-husband wanted me to be a stripper/whore == MONEY BAD). But when he has been practically faced with choosing between having more money, or gaining greater peace of mind, he has so far always (wisely) chosen the latter (and I try to steer him in that direction - like encouraging him to open his own business vs. "finding a job" or to take an unplanned day off to go fishing "because why else would you be your own boss?"). He says he is much happier now than when he had a lot more money and "things." But he seems almost surprised by this, like he still hasn't quite connected the dots.

I'm not super good at explaining all of this without actually getting into my emotional baggage (money bad lol), so I am always on the lookout for sources to help explain the principle in perhaps a less disordered way. :blush:
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
But he STILL managed to harbor something of an obsession with money - and when he and my mom split, they both fought over custody of all the kids, primarily for child-support-related reasons. I'm sure it didn't FEEL like greed to them, it felt like FEAR because they were both poor enough that having to make any substantial payment would be a hefty burden.

It's wanting to be perceived as smart, successful, and being a good provider. Most people live in a meritocratic culture (not everyone does, some people inherit wealth but I think there is some drive to make something of yourself regardless) where intelligence = wealth, dumb = poor, even if they say otherwise (most of the hardcore lefties I know are from rich af families).

My husband's family is middle-class affluent (engineer and a teacher) but my MIL is money-oriented and often makes snide comments. My husband has been looking for a new job for awhile (COVID-era job hunting SUCKS btw) and he has a certain idea of what a "good" job is because of what has been drummed into his head (and that if his wife has to work even part-time, he's a failure). Yet we live comfortably; we lived most of last year one income, I've been working weekends for a few months to help out with food/gas/extras. My family was poorish growing up but I feel grateful for it as an adult. (He's the second of five children, so while they all got their college paid for, they weren't spoiled thankfully. His parents and siblinga are very comfort-oriented though.)

Food/shelter/some savings/occasional extras. My goals aren't extravagant. I'm ready to get pregnant again though lol.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
@Kitty Tantrum
"This is why I NEVER fought that fight with my ex-husband"
I believe your statement is biblical, not to involve the Statists' parasitic opportunity, neither add fuel to fire.
It is not a civil 'government' responsiblity to provide welfare in any shape or form. A wife has no choice but to rely on her Lord and His Church to provide a solution to such a situation. Any economic restitution in divorce should be worked out, without the parasites taking a cut and lording it over His faithful.
 

messaggera

Kingfisher
Woman
Tribulations
taken from the article reference: worshiping comfort is satanic

If things in life go a little too smooth for a prolonged period of time, the most devout of them cry out to God—“Why have you forsaken me?” Without tribulation, we do not build virtue....... If we do not face difficulty, we do not get closer to God, for why do you need God if everything in this life is perfect? https://www.rooshv.com/worshiping-comfort-is-satanic


Edit: oops I thought this was the Ladies forum.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I believe your statement is biblical, not to involve the Statists' parasitic opportunity, neither add fuel to fire.
It's one of those things I've learned through painful experience before ever learning that it's actually a biblical principle, but yes - I do believe it is. Realizing that I've chosen in many cases to live by principles that later turned out to have a biblical foundation is the biggest thing that has drawn me closer and closer to God over the years. :)
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
Tribulations
taken from the article reference: worshiping comfort is satanic




Edit: oops I thought this was the Ladies forum.
This is why the wicked are left to their love of money, rotting in envy of His image in we His faithful.
Envy is not just desiring what others have, rather it desires to destroy what others have.
The elite hate Christendom because they can't have assurance of salvation, so they resort to spite and cruelty through domination.
 

messaggera

Kingfisher
Woman
This is why the wicked are left to their love of money, rotting in envy of His image in we His faithful.
Envy is not just desiring what others have, rather it desires to destroy what others have.
The elite hate Christendom because they can't have assurance of salvation, so they resort to spite and cruelty through domination.

Just look to the "United" States government (s). Sad and scary times.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
It's one of those things I've learned through painful experience before ever learning that it's actually a biblical principle, but yes - I do believe it is. Realizing that I've chosen in many cases to live by principles that later turned out to have a biblical foundation is the biggest thing that has drawn me closer and closer to God over the years. :)
My experience is that sanctification is bittersweet, continually being confronted with holiness is hard to swallow, but leaves one with a sweet after taste. Once repentance is gifted to us, we need to cultivate daily, pulling out the weeds.
I find myself congratulation myself for gettng up out of the mire, because even self-righteousness can take root, if we wallow in our pityful state.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
Just look to the "United" States government (s). Sad and scary times.
I'm afraid it has become apparent that all 'governments' of the world are ganging up against His bride. Dark times are here, but as long as we remember we each have a narrative to live within His story, to His glory, everything will pan out ultimately.
I am very thankful I didn't live in darker times of history.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
Oh my! I apologise for this diversion of the topic on this thread. I just realized that my conversation here should rather take place in the Ladies Forum.
 

paninaro

Pelican
What I'm unclear about is money vs possessions and also family obligation. If I earn a decent living, then I can provide for my family. For example if one of my children has a health condition, it costs a lot of money to pay for all the care that is needed. It's good to have money to afford that. It isn't buying possessions -- it's providing for your family and why not get the best care that money can buy, if it's for your children?

The other thing is if you earn more money, you can give more to charity. As my income goes up, I have a greater ability to do good because I can give to charity and they can use that money to feed the hungry, for example.

To me it seems like there is efficiency and greater benefit if you have more money, assuming you use it for the right things.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
What I'm unclear about is money vs possessions and also family obligation. If I earn a decent living, then I can provide for my family. For example if one of my children has a health condition, it costs a lot of money to pay for all the care that is needed. It's good to have money to afford that. It isn't buying possessions -- it's providing for your family and why not get the best care that money can buy, if it's for your children?

The other thing is if you earn more money, you can give more to charity. As my income goes up, I have a greater ability to do good because I can give to charity and they can use that money to feed the hungry, for example.

To me it seems like there is efficiency and greater benefit if you have more money, assuming you use it for the right things.
I believe it is better to work hard in order to obtain what is needed as it is needed, than to try to hoard away extra in anticipation of some unknown, beyond modest savings.

There's a balance to that, of course, and it certainly doesn't involve causing or allowing your family to suffer needlessly.

But if you decide you need to be making six figures before you can start a family, because maybe someone will have unforeseen health expenses (for example), that's a likelier recipe for eventually falling prey to consumer temptation and the unhappiness it tends to yield.

Starting and raising family on $20-30k per year might sound insane, but if you structure your life around being able to do this, it gives you a lot more room to generate and leverage additional income than if you're in a situation where you're in the upper end of what you can expect to earn in your field and working a demanding career and all of your various expenses are scaled proportionately.

If making money comes easily to you, then definitely worry more about how you employ those funds than about whether you're making too much.

But a lot of people throw a huge chunk of their lives away struggling to attain an arbitrary income level as a prerequisite for things they never get around to.

They'd have been happier just doing those things as a poor person and also having 30% more time to sit and think. :)
 

MBell

Sparrow
Woman
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

little-girl-poverty-1024x683.jpg


On Wealth and Poverty is my second book by Saint John Chrysostom, a Church Father who is venerated in both the Catholic and Orthodox Church. It is difficult to find a set of his complete works so the best I can do is read booklets like this that are focused on a defined topic area.

Sharing the Gospel​



Even if sharing your testimony and faith—from a position of love and not pride—doesn’t immediately help others come to Christ, you will still receive your reward. You shouldn’t remain silent as to how important God is to your life just because you have a hunch that your words will not be well-received by the hearer.

Do not give up on a troubled soul​


Satan will not stop​



We shouldn’t be upset that Satan is attacking us, or suspect that those attacks come because we are being punished by God. The Book of Job shows that even the righteous will be severely tested.

Woe to those living in wealth and luxury​


Enduring daily trials​


True wealth​


st-john-and-paul-1024x518.jpg

Apologize now to not be judged later​



Before Christ, I would apologize to someone who I believed would receive it with grace and not offend my ego. My apology was transactional and not genuine. Now, I apologize even if the old me would think that the person doesn’t “deserve” an apology or would use it as an excuse to insult me further. I do it because I made a mistake and apologizing is the right thing to do as a Christian, not as a public show of contrition or to soothe out social tension.

Material wealth is deceiving​



If you have an obsession with money and are possessed by the sin of greed, Satan will work to give you what you want so that your soul is condemned. Material wealth is dangerous because it allows you to be in a state just comfortable enough that you are able to ignore your soul’s calling for God.

Better to suffer in this life​



When you ask yourself why the West has degraded, simply examine the main aims of the culture: comfort and pleasure. Everything is structured for you to be happy and fulfilled in this life. According to Saint John, this assures judgment. Accept your lot, let the sufferings expatiate your sins, and approach Judgement with a clear conscience that you are prepared to receive eternal glory.

Why aren’t there more obvious miracles?​



God has foreseen all possible methods to increase human faith and save souls. If God doesn’t allow it, there’s a reason. Don’t think that your feeble mind could have arranged this world in a way where evil would have been less.

My main complaint about this book is that I wish it was longer. It also was not singularly focused on “Wealth and Poverty” but on a multitude of other subjects that thankfully kept me engaged. Overall, it taught me not to be so quick to escape any suffering I happen to experience. If I’m able to bear it then I should, because my reward will soon come.

Learn More: On Wealth and Poverty by St John Chrysostom
Permalink
Great piece. It made me think a lot about what being rich truly means and how wealth should actually be defined. When I read the article, I felt like I was hearing the echo of lessons I was taught at my daddy's knee in childhood. He has had a really hard life, and he was financially poor in a way I can't imagine and most people probably would find difficult to survive. In one of the richest parts of America, he and his family barely enough food to eat. They used powdered milk, slept without heat, took cold showers and had to live in tents during the summer when they were without a roof over their heads. He and his multitude of siblings really came to know the pain of hunger and cold, and the emotional loneliness from a father tortured by PTSD and a busy mother working to prevent eviction really have them the true experience of poverty. However, they were also given the gift of God and knowledge of His love at a young age and this made them immeasurably rich in ways that really matter. They are all close, spiritually wealthy, abundantly share their stores of love, and are able to give from their richness of grace and religious maturity. I think that my siblings and I, and everyone they come into contact with, gain from the wealth they hold. Physical hunger fades and temporary poverty will pass, but their spiritual hunger was fed by God and their richness in Christ is a strength that can never be threatened by cold or loneliness. The kind of needs that really matter for eternity can only be sated by Jesus, and wealth bestowed by Him is intangible and immune from robbery by forces of human folly, weakness or sin. God bless you and everyone who reads and benefits from your words.
 
Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I ask of You—

do not refuse me before I die:

Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the bread that is my portion.

Otherwise, I may have too much

and deny You, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

profaning the name of my God.

Therefore the optimum is to not be so poor that one ends up stealing profaning the name of God. Neither wealthy that one ends up denying him.

Its good to neither be poor or wealthy but in between. Above subsistence but not having enough wealth that would ensure certain temptations.
 

Troller

Pelican
Poverty is not to be feared. Wealth is. Being poor is easy. You do nothing. Because it´s wealth which can tempt you. Like the quote on Wall Street:

"The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do."​

Book of Job tells the story of a wealthy man. Who is tested by God. After Satan (what else) questions God if Job was righteous and only believed in God because he had wealth. So God tested him. Taking away all his wealth and family. Job failed the test cursing God. But finally after God spoke to him he repented. And God afterward gave him double of everything he owned.

Achieving sanctity by working hard is no shame or sin.

Money and wealth are not bad by themselves. If you continue realizing that you cannot trick or foul God. Which is hardest part. You are not above His power or judgement. And if you think you are. God will show how His path is the only path to righteousness. You don´t want to be around when he shows it.

Sometimes I feel God gives me clues. "If you do that you will suffer". Sometimes I do it anyway. And guess what I suffer. I think God has a lot of tolerance. Only when you truly screw up big time in excessive behavior. What you abused It´s taken from you. If you abuse your freedom. You go to jail.

Money and wealth are a form of power so intense which can derail most of man into a life of sin. Because all sins become easy to get. Money is in fact a shortcut to all sins you can imagine. But money doesn´t make you sin. It´s your weakness and rebellion against God. You can win the lotto ticket and still be faithful to God. Of course it becomes harder. And not all are strong enough to resist it.

I don´t think poverty is good. Best is middle like Aristotle advised.

 
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You can't find his complete works because they aren't all translated into English.

How eight sermons on the Jews are very interesting. For one thing, there's a lot of Bible commentary you never thought about. But also you see a lot of parallels to today. He talks about how their festivals are like the theater and include prostitutes and "effeminate men".
 
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