Money--You Can't Take it With You
Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
In his space trilogy, C.S. Lewis called him ‘the Bent one.” That is really an apt name for the one the Bible is calls “Satan” or the Accuser. The perverse choice he made to serve himself rather than his creator warped his nature, and ever since his delight has been twisting anything he can get his hands on.
Take sexual desire for instance. It was created by God to draw together a man and woman in committed, covenant love that issues in new life. As such, sexual desire is clearly a great good. But when it is twisted at the instigation of the “Bent One,” it becomes lust--the urge for sterile self-gratification that is willing to trample upon the dignity of another, of many others, to satisfy an itch.
The same holds true for economic drive. No where in the Bible do we see praise for laziness. Man and woman are given responsibility to care for the garden even before sin enters into the story. Work is holy, and ought to be productive (BTW John Paul II’s theology of work is as fantastic as his theology of the body!). And enjoying the fruits of our labor and sharing them with others are some of life’s greatest blessings.
Yet when the drive to work and earn money is twisted, the legitimate pleasure intended by God vanishes and is replaced by bondage. The workaholic can’t get off the treadmill to enjoy the fruit of his labor. He anxiously allows work to become compulsive, eating away at every area of his life. Then we have the greedy of this world who hoard their treasure, refusing to enjoy it themselves or share it with others. Instead, money becomes a substitute for God, an idol. The greedy seek their identity and ultimate security in money. This is what we see in the rich man of Luke 12. His problem is not that he is excited about a bumper harvest, but that he succumbs to the illusion that this wealth means security. He puts his trust in his warehouses which, of course, let him down.
I Timothy 6:10 teaches us that the love of money is the root of all evil. I’ve always found St. Augustine’s definition of the love of money to be very enlightening. He points out that the wrong kind of love is not restricted to money. Whenever a created thing becomes no longer a means to love God but an end it itself, then you have that “love” which is idolatry and the root of all evil (Colossians 3:5 speaks of "that greed which is idolatry"). Do you “love” the idea of finding the perfect mate? To have a better love life within marriage? To have a child? To get a job? To win an athletic championship? To get a college degree? To flourish in business? The desire for all these things can be good indeed. The avid pursuit of each of these things can actually be a duty, depending on one’s state it life.
The question, though, is whether these desires and achievements are stepping stones on the road to God or disastrous detours. It’s time for a gut-check. Are we most intent on things below or on things above? (Colossians 3:1-2) We should be passionate about many things below – but is our zeal for health, love, kids, education, job, financial security truly a function of our zeal for loving God and doing his will? Where do we seek our ultimate satisfaction and security? In these temporal things (even people) that pass away, or in God who is forever? What do we look forward to more . . . our next promotion or heaven? Including an examination of conscience in our bedtime prayer helps us ask such questions daily and keeps us from getting off-track.
If you haven’t noticed, it does not take us much to get us off-track. It’s been that way ever since that first fateful conversation in the Garden between our first parents and the Bent One.
This originally appeared in our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on the readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle C (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 Luke 12: 13-21) and is reproduced here by permission of the author.
Click here to download and print Twisted Blessings!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
I Believe - The Heart of the Catholic Faith - DVD Set
In this dynamic, four-part faith formation series, on the Creed, Dr. D'Ambrosio explains how this expression of the basic beliefs of Roman Catholicism is relevant to our personal relationship with God.
Curtis Stephan - LIVE!
The songs are a mix of familiar songs from previous CDs: ie. I Will Testify, No Ordinary Day, This Day, Love, Peace and Love of God; to other songwriters songs never recorded by Curtis before: ie, Trading My Sorrows, Undignified, You Never Let Go, Unchanging; to some new songs written by Curtis not yet on any previous CD: ie, Set Afire, We Live to Love, Holy is the Name of Jesus and Take Up Our Cross. An awesome mix of upbeat, rock style and contemplative acoustic fashion this is a well produced and artistically superb addition to your Curtis Stephan collection! - Perfect for your road trips or for listening to at the pool!
The Early Church Fathers
A society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?
The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!
Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus
Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine
Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Set—$44.00
Early Church Fathers 2 CD Set—$18.00
BioLean® of the BioLean® Weight Management System - free-shipping
Ephedra-free BioLean®, of the BioLean® Weight Management System, is an excellent natural choice to help jump-start your healthy lifestyle. Designed to help curb your cravings, promote healthy energy levels, and satisfy your appetite, BioLean® is powered by Advantra Z®, the only patented citrus aurantium extract for weight loss on the market today. The great thing about BioLean® is that is can help reduce body fat even while promoting the development of lean muscle mass --the only path to long-term, healthy weight loss.