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No man can serve two masters, says the Lord August 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, It's all about the $$$, Liturgical Year, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

A very good study on excessive love of money from Dom Prosper Gueranger:

No man, says our Lord, can serve two masters; and these two masters are, God and mammon.  Mammon means riches. Riches are not, of their own nature, bad. [Which, thank God for us, because we Americans and indeed all developed countries are fantastically rich today compared to even the very wealthiest in a historical sense.  Two hundred  years ago even the richest had no refrigeration, forced air heating, telephones, smart phones, etc, but today almost every one does but the very, very poorest]  When lawfully acquired, and used agreeably to the designs of God, riches help the possessor to gain true goods for his soul; he stores up for himself, in the kingdom of his eternal home, treasures which neither thieves nor rust can reach.  Ever since the Incarnation, wherein the Divine Word espoused poverty to Himself, it is the poor that are heaven’s nobility.  And yet, the mission of the rich man is a grand one: he is permitted to be rich in order that he may be God’s minister to make all the several portions of material creation turn to their Creator’s glory.  God graciously vouchsafes to entrust into his hands the feeding and supporting of the dearest of His children, that is, the poor, the indigent and suffering members of His Christ. He calls him to uphold the interest of His Church, and be the promoter of works connected with the salvation of men.  He confides to him the upkeep and beautification of His temples. [Would that more money had been spent to that purpose, and much better spent, over the past 70 years or so!] Happy that man, and worthy of all praise, who thus directly brings back to the glory of God the fruits of the earth, and the precious metals she yields from her bosom.

Let not such a man fear: it is not of him that Jesus speaks those anathemas uttered so frequently by Him against the rich ones of this world.  He has but one Master – the Father, who is in Heaven, whose steward he humbly and gladly acknowledges himself to be. Mammon does not domineer over him; on the contrary, he makes her his servant, and obliges her to minister to his zeal in all good works.  The solicitude he takes in spending his wealth in acts of justice and charity, is not that which the Gospel blames; for, in all such solicitude, he is but following our Lord’s precept, of seeking first the Kingdom of God; and the riches which pass through his hands in the furtherance of good works, do not distract his thoughts from that Heaven where his heart is, because his true treasure is there…..[Rather contrary to much rhetoric we hear in the Church today, no, where there is frequently the sneering implication that one cannot become wealthy without somehow doing over the poor, like wealth is a zero sum game?]

……It is quite otherwise when riches, instead of being regarded as a simple means, become the very end of a man’s existence, and that to such an extent as to make him neglect, yea, and sometimes forget, his last end.  ‘The ways of the covetous man.” says Scripture, “destroys the souls of the possessors” (Prov i:19). The Apostle explains this by saying that the love of money drives a man into temptation and the snares of the devil, by the countless unprofitable and hurtful desires it excites within him; it drowns men in destruction and perdition, making them even barter away their faith.  And yet, the more an avaricious man gets, the less he spends.  [I have known people, God rest their souls, like this, but I think the problem tends to be the opposite today even among the wealthy – living beyond their means, spending every cent they earn] To nurse his treasure, to gaze upon it, to be thinking of it all day and night…..that is what he lives for; and his money becomes at last his idol.  Yes, mammon is not merely his master, whose commands are obeyed before all others, but it is his god, before which he sacrifices friends, relatives, country, and himself, for he devotes, and……..throws away his whole soul and body to his idol.  

Let us not be astonished at the Gospel (Mt VI) declaring that God and mammon are irreconcilable enemies; for, who was it but mammon that had our Lord Jesus sacrificed for only thirty pieces of silver? Of all the devils in hell, is there one whose hideous guilt is deeper than the fallen angel who prompted Judas to sell the Son of God to His executioner?  It is teh avaricious who alone can boast of deicide!  The vile love of money, which the Apostle defines as the root of all evils (I Tim vi:10), can lay claim to having produced the greatest crime that was ever perpetrated!  

———End Quote———

So, if you’re wealthy, be generous, I think the narrow point this can be reduced down to is, in our president’s words, to share the wealth, both with the Church, and with the poor and indigent.  I believe my kids qualify, since their independent income is very low, the bums.  By that standard, I’m amazingly charitable, probably 90+% of my net income goes to the wife and kids.  Oh yeah…..duty.

Here’s a small aside: how many of you readers with older teens encourage them to work?  I started working when I was 13 but my oldest two teen daughters have not, aside from some occasional babysitting.  My wife is worried about what they’d be exposed to in most entry-level jobs.  I’m not sure how valid a concern that is.  For me, I’d like them to start to learn about how much work it takes to earn a certain amount of money, the effect of taxation, and lessons about the value of skills in terms of earning power.  It’s one thing to understand these things theoretically, and another to see all those dollars disappear from your paycheck into the black hole of government wealth transfer schemes.

Any thoughts or shared experiences?


1. Baseballmom - August 27, 2015

Oh Wow! Yes, have lots and lots of experience with working teens. Honestly, it was more THEIR PERSONALITIES than the places they worked that made the difference. Much easier for a “strong leader” personality to deal with all the various folks they will work with and stay strong in their Faith (and hold to a moral compass) than for a “follower” personality. We went through some very tough times with some of the boys when they went to work (all of them got jobs at 16 – they had to if they wanted to drive – insurance…) as they gave in to some bad influences. The princess had no problem (well, except for the fact that she thought if she had an ATM card then that nice machine at the bank would always have money for her…) – so really you have to know what your kiddo can handle. That said, all of them still practice their Faith and the four with kids are passing the Faith onto their children. The older they get, the more we must pray for them. The knees on my jeans are pretty wore out….

2. LaGallina - August 27, 2015

I think your wife has very valid concerns regarding teen daughters in entry-level jobs! Even babysitting has its dangers. Babysitters often find the hidden pornography ( which is now not hidden!), the father may make sexual advances toward babysitters (it happened to me.) The drunken father also used to drive me home on a very dangerous 2-lane mountain road. Of course I never told my parents!

Then in my entry-level jobs — co-workers were usually very wild partiers. Drinking, drug use, and promiscuity were commonplace. Bad language was just expected. Religion was hated, for the most part.

We mothers have a way of thinking through all of the dangers threatening our children! Especially if we experienced those dangers. But we can still look for ways to encourage them to earn money.

My oldest works as a lifeguard at the city pool. He also bought some gum ball machines and put them in local restaurants. My younger sons mow lawns. Sometimes they walk people’s dogs. They have even done quite well selling lemonade on hot summer days from the front yard.

It is definitely prudent to consider very carefully where to allow teenagers to work in today’s world. But there are still some opportunities.

3. javaqueen6 - August 28, 2015

Our 4 older children are 17+. All worked in high school, but not regular jobs.

Girls have babysat & made BIG bucks. Girls make minimally $10/hour, but that is not the norm. More normal is at least $12. They both have a long list of satisfied customers who refer them out. They have both chosen to pursue this source of income even when they were in college over summers b/c they made such good money.

Boys have reffed soccer & also made BIG bucks. Least amount one will make reffing soccer (in Plano) is $14/game — that’s acting as a ref for a 40-minute kindergarten game. More typical is $16-18/game, and if you’re willing to do older kids, over $20. For an hour of soccer.

Granted, we do live in a more affluent area. So these wages might not be typical in smaller areas, but I would surmise probably the norm in your average metropolitan area.

Both of these jobs have been a positive for the money they’ve earned and the life experience gained. Our girls have come to even more appreciate the home they were raised in — especially our somewhat stricter discipline and standards, and especially our unwillingness to tolerate backtalk & chastisement of siblings. Our sons have both had their backbones ratched up by dealing with unreasonable soccer parents & coaches.

One comment about teaching one’s children about the govt. “tax scheme” — one of our sons took a job with someone who hired him as an independent contractor. He thought he was a regular employee until he received a Form 1099 instead of a W2. OW. He owed a very large portion of his pay in taxes that had not been paid out. He was expecting money back. Another friend had a daughter who did swim lessons at her home over the summer to pay for college. She worked 7 hour days, 5 days/week & made over $5000 that summer doing swim lessons. She owed nearly 50% of it in taxes. That is still good money to make for the summer, but for all she had to do to get her business going & working out in the sun, etc. The next summer she worked as a swim instructor for the city, netted less, but only made a little less than she had after taxes the previous summer. And wasn’t so frustrated seeing her hard work get turned over to the govt.

4. tg - August 28, 2015

Both of my kids worked at age 16. The male at the grocery store and the female at Kmart. Neither one was influenced in a negative way by co-workers. They had their own friends. Both learned to have a work ethic and worked while going to college. Both chose careers that didn’t require student loans – paramedic and dental hygienist. As far as careers both of my children did great. Now their Catholic faith, that’s another matter and it’s my fault. Like St. Augustine, I re-converted late in life but like St. Monica, I am praying for my children.

5. tg - August 28, 2015

Going back to Mammon and God, I think the church chose mammon and not trust God. The Vatican has millions and is too invested in the world. Some of Father Malachi Martin’s books are fiction but still contain the truth. In one of them, he writes about this. He says church leaders even in the early centuries didn’t put their full trust God. (Of course, the apostles and their followers did in the very early church.)

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