“Money is a soulless thing. It has no life of its own. Here and now, we use money to meet our needs, to support our families, to help the poor, to serve the Church. Soulless things serve things with souls. Money serves its purpose in this life and has no purpose in the next.
Money takes its meaning from human life. It also, in some small way, reveals the shape of our lives to us. Someone could probably put together a decent picture of our interests, our concerns—our life—by looking at all the purchases we have made over the past decade. If we consider how we spend money, we have some insight into our hearts: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:21). Our hearts go out to the things they treasure. How we spend money shows, in part, how we spend ourselves.
We can only spend what we have. In order to spend money, we have to have money. In order to spend ourselves, we have to possess ourselves. If we are slaves “to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness” (Rm 6:19), we do not possess ourselves. If we are governed by the many wayward desires, great and small, that course through our body and soul everyday, we do not possess ourselves. And if we do not possess ourselves, we cannot truly spend ourselves.
But we have been “purchased at a price” (1 Cor 6:20) from our slavery in order that we might be free: “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal 1:5). We have been freed from the reign of death, from the worship of mammon, in order that we might live a new life of freedom. We still feel the mark of the bonds; we still feel the inclination to obey our old masters. But we are free. We can say no to them. If we fail, we can begin again in our new way. The price has been paid. We claim the freedom won on our behalf.
This new life does not stockpile graces. Saint Paul tells the Corinthians that he will “most gladly spend and be spent for [their] souls” (2 Cor 12:15 ESV). To spend and be spent: this is the joy of the disciple. One whose possession of his own life does not spill over into the lives of others is “one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God” (Lk 12:21). The disciple spends himself, not for the soulless things of this world, but for others’ souls. Souls are what matter to God. We rejoice when we are “poured out as a libation” (Phil 2:17), for then we share in the self-spending of our Savior.
We have been purchased that we may be free. We are free that we may spend ourselves. How we spend ourselves and our money says something about who we are. We possess soulless things of this world in order to serve the things that have souls. The order in the world is clear and true and worth living by. After all, “what profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life” (Mk 8:36)?”
Love & joy,
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder . . . What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection." –St. Padre Pio, "Screens may grab our attention, but books change our lives!" – Word on Fire, "Reading has made many saints!" -St Josemaría Escrivá, "Do you pray? You speak to the Bridegroom. Do you read? He speaks to you." —St. Jerome, from his Letter 22 to Eustochium, "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori, "God here speaks to souls through…good books“ – St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, "You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori "Never read books you aren't sure about. . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?" -St. John Bosco " To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer." —St. Thomas Aquinas, OP. "Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading." –St. Isidore of Seville “The aid of spiritual books is for you a necessity.… You, who are in the midst of battle, must protect yourself with the buckler of holy thoughts drawn from good books.” -St. John Chrysostom