Thursday, November 10, 2011

Devotion for today: greed- but I don't want to share

Ascending the mountain of capital or deadly sins, we move today into the sins of too much love, beginning with greed.

Scripture passage for meditation: Exodus 16: 15-16; 19-21
When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, "What is that?" not knowing what it was.  "That," said Moses to them, "is the bread Yahweh gives you to eat. This is Yahweh's command: everyone must gather enough of it for his needs....No one must keep any of it for tomorrow." But some would not listen to Moses and kept part of it for the following day, and it bred maggots and smelled foul: and Moses was angry with them.

Christ tells us: Matthew 19:23-26  "The danger of riches"
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." When the disciples heard this they were astonished. "Who can be saved, then?" they said. Jesus gazed at them. "For men," He told them, "this is impossible; for God everything is possible."

St. Francis de Sales warns us in An Introduction to the Devout Life:
He is rich in spirit whose heart is in his riches, and whose riches fill his heart. He is poor is spirit who has not riches in his heart, nor his heart in riches....Your heart should be open only to heaven and impenetrable to riches and earthly things; if you possess them preserve your heart from loving them; let it rise above them, and be poor in the midst of wealth, and master of its riches....It is a great happiness for a Christian to be actually rich but poor in spirit, for thus he can use wealth and its advantages in this world and yet have the merit of poverty as regards the next.

Prayer: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
These are Your words, my Jesus. You spoke them long ago, but they are still true. How few have bothered to understand them, much less practice them! We claim to be wise, yet how often we fail to place You first in our daily life. We admit in word that You are our greatest treasure, and yet we seldom think of limiting our earthly interests in order to give You more attention and better service. I am tired of living this illogical life of mine. I want to begin this day trying to have fewer things in my daily life, so that I may have less to draw my attention away from You. Fill my thoughts with You. Direct my intentions to Yourself, so that I may begin at last to live for Your praise, honor, and glory. Amen.
Anthony J. Paone, SJ, My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1954.

My thoughts: There are many kinds of greed in the world. Some of us are greedy for power: we want to control everyone and everything, take credit for all successes and no responsibility for failures. Others are greedy for fear of want: they never have enough of anything, including money, food and clothes, for fear a day will come when they won't have enough. Then there is the greed of acquisition: if it is out there, I must have it. The best cure for any type of greed is to turn to the word of God. "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory;" "Perfect Love casts out fear." "You can't take a U-Haul to the grave with you." Okay, the last one is not in the Bible, but you get my point. If your treasure is not God, your camel is not going to be able to fit into the passage, and all your excess will be like the excess Manna taken by the Israelites. Do as St. Francis de Sales tells us, and make the world a better place.  Praise others for successes, keep only what you need, and pass up the desire for more things. The world will be better and you will be lighter!

Your prayer to God:  The words in the above prayer are so beautiful. Let us repeat over and over again as we begin to give away our desire for power, our fear of the future, and our obsession for earthly toys: "Fill  my thoughts with that I may begin at last to live for Your praise, honor and glory."

For a really good explanation of the material I presented under My Thoughts, go to the website That is where I learned  those wonderful ideas!

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