Money and the spirit of poverty

Posted by watchmen
September 28, 2020
Posted in OPINION

Many times, we are given the impression that money and the Christian spirit of poverty are incompatible. To a certain extent, there is some truth to that view. 

Even St. Paul went to the extent of saying that, “the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim 6, 10) We do not have to look far to verify the undeniable truth of these words.

But we need to remind ourselves also that money in itself is not an inherent evil. It is when we fall into an improper attachment to it that it becomes an evil or, better said, a tool for evil. But in itself, if handled properly, it can in fact be a tool for oing a lot of good and of glorifying God.

We just have to make sure that our attitude toward money is inspired by our love for God and for others, and the way we deal with it faithfully reflects the will of God which definitely is for our own salvation and the salvation of everyone.

Only then can we apply the use of money in accordance to Christ’s words: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6, 21) Only then can we say that money will show how much we love God, rather than how depraved we have fallen.

This should be the perspective within which money and its creation and use should be viewed. In this context, we can even say that we can and should develop a healthy love for money which is not for anything other than to glorify God and to truly serve our needs, without falling into the anomalies of pride, greed, lust and the like.

I would even go to the extent of saying that we should not be afraid to become millionaires or even billionaires if our pursuit for money is in accordance to this perspective. Only then can we say that the apparent oxymoron of being both rich in money but poor in spirit according to one of the beatitudes would be happily achieved.

But we should neither forget that the pursuit for money according to this spirit will always involve a lot of suffering too. This is unavoidable and is actually a clear sign that we are taking the right path. We should be ready for this aspect, unafraid and eager to face the challenge, bear the burden and tackle the trials. Temptations will surely abound and stressful moments will surely come aplenty.

Of course, this is easier said than done. That’s why we need to constantly examine ourselves and rectify our intentions, seeing to it that all our transactions are in accordance to the will of God and the objective good of all of us.

Many times we have to pause and review the way we generate and use money, and to make appropriate consultations just to make sure that we avoid falling into the subtle traps of inordinate attachments, greed, etc. Yes, a certain transparency is needed here, a system of checks-and-balances also has to be installed.

More importantly, we have to toughen ourselves and arm ourselves with the appropriate moral and spiritual means and weapons to carry out the heavy responsibilities involved in this matter.

In this regard, I was happy to meet someone who talked to me about the importance of savings and of investing in stocks. It kind of made me of aware of the intricacies of the different instruments that can be used to generate money and to contribute to the common good.

Yes, a certain financial literacy is also needed by everyone, including those involved in the works of charity and spiritual and pastoral ministries. Money can and should be an important element in our spirit of poverty./WDJ

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