"The more productive his land, the more sacred pillars he set up." —Hosea 10:1
The more God blessed Israel materially, the more idolatrous it became. We humans have a pronounced tendency to make material things more important than God. We also have the tendency to enter into denial of our addiction to a pleasure-seeking lifestyle and of the strength of this addiction in our lives.
Jesus taught and warned: "Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be" (Lk 12:34). We deceive ourselves into thinking it is "mind over matter," but Jesus maintained it is matter over mind and heart. The Lord surprised His disciples when He said it was humanly impossible for a rich man to be saved (Mt 19:24). "The love of money is the root of all evil. Some men in their passion for it have strayed from the faith" (1 Tm 6:10). The Lord commands: "Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love has no place in him" (1 Jn 2:15).
Some of the early monks were afraid to enter a house for fear of succumbing to the temptation to be possessive. St. Francis of Assisi forbade his brothers to have money in their possession or to ride on a horse because of the lure of materialism. These measures seem ridiculous and extreme to us, but they may not be as stupid as we think. Pope John Paul II has taught: "This super-development [consumerism], which consists in an excessive availability of every kind of material goods for the benefit of certain social groups, easily makes people slaves of 'possession' and of immediate gratification" (On Social Concern, 28). Let us face the reality of materialism's extreme, seductive power.
Prayer: Father, may I not let the god of this age blind my mind (2 Cor 4:4).
Praise: When tempted by the lure of materialism, Sandra accepts God's grace to give away a particularly cherished treasure.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003
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