Society Magazine

Let Me Guess... You're One Who's Looking to Be 'successful'?

Posted on the 24 October 2013 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

I might as well be guessing that you're one who's looking for air to breathe.  Seemingly, we're all looking to be successful in one way or another and it can certainly be a good thing.  But there is a definition of success, the one the world tends to sell us far too often, that involves money and power.

Into that world steps The Anchoress:

Worldy success may deliver unto us many, many things — more things than we could ever need or use — but it costs almost everything, too: the sense of personal freedom that comes with anonymity; Successbeing able to trust that people are telling you the truth, instead of what you want to hear; losing the efficient friction that comes from hearing the word “no”, from time to time.

There is a whole chapter in Strange Gods devoted to the Idol of Prosperity, and how subtly we serve it; how it confuses society until it insidiously owns all of us; how the “haves” cling to and protect their wealth while the “have-nots” are prompted to simultaneously resent the rich and strive to join them.

When we are wealthy, we are segregated from ordinary people and ordinary realities, things like standing in lines, struggling with bills, and relying on mass transit. We stop identifying with those from whom we are separated. When we can no longer identify with others, we can begin to dehumanize them. When we dehumanize others, we lose sight of God, for we are made in his image, and thus we embrace a dreadful spiritual poverty in which we see only ourselves as a divine image. Rather than our world becoming enlarged, it becomes smaller. Our circle of acquaintances becomes more select, which means our perspective becomes diminished as well. Surrounded by others who are accustomed to hearing only yes and who believe they are charting their own destinies (absent any bothersome God), we turn and away from our better angels. And then we become lonely, and we do not know why.

But while the pope is, justifiably, dressing down the “bishop of bling”, I wouldn’t make the argument that wealth is, in and of itself, an evil thing. Saint Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil, not the money itself. Just as guns are simply objects, only made evil in how they are used, money is just money, and how you attach to it, and what you choose to do with it, is what corrupts the soul.

Prosperity is not evil in and of itself. A wealthy nation is one that can respond quickly and effectively to help another nation in crisis. A wealthy philanthropist can do a great deal of good for others. It was the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea who had the coin, the connections, and the clout to have Jesus’s tortured body removed from the cross, shrouded in fine linen, and entombed before the Sabbath. All of this was essential to the Resurrection. But prosperity can be a fast and powerful vehicle for driving us away from what Christ has told us is essentialwhich does not include getting rich.

In the end, everything always comes down to our intention, and with how we use the gifts we are given. You could do a great deal of good with money, if your heart is open to it.

My hope is that what's been excerpted is enough to whet your appetite for more.  If not, then you should know that she's over there quoting noted anti-Catholic Billy Joel.

What are you waiting for?

Go read the whole thing.

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