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