In yesterday’s reflections, Father Cantalamessa focused upon a key ingredient that marks the “world’s thinking” that needs to be rooted out from the life of every Christian, especially every bishop. He called it “the love of money” that forms the centerpiece of what motivates much of what the world does, often in opposition to the message of the Gospel.
In one of his opening statements, Father Raniero made clear that the modern rival to God is precisely the pursuit of money (and all that this implies, including material possessions, honor, power, etc.). Such a pursuit defines the very nature of the secular world, that sees all things only in terms of their materiality and denies any spiritual quality or dimension to life. He quoted the Scriptural admonition that money is the root of all evil, reminding us as bishops that our attitude towards material possessions (including honor and power) can easily be corrupted by the prevalent attitude of secularity. As such, since we cannot serve two masters, he asked us bluntly: whom do we wish to serve?
Later in his talk, in a moment of great insight, Father Raniero posed another question that has caused me to reflect deeply since he asked it. He remarked: “Why is the pursuit of money so devastating to the spiritual life?” His answer was simple: any person who gets caught in an unbridled pursuit of material possessions makes the grave spiritual mistake to place his or her faith, hope and love in material possessions and not God. Such a person has chosen to worship a false God that is an idol and has forsaken the one, true God. I wonder how much this idolatry has affected various aspects of our Church’s life? I even wonder how often you and I may slip into this idolatry and not even realize it?
If this pursuit for “money” needs to be rooted out from our Christian lives, then we need to embrace a true spirit of detachment. More on this topic in the days ahead.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!