Our Unwitting Greed
And He said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. – Luke 12:15
I’m sure that many of us could easily admit that our culture is materialistic. From the time we were children, whether we know it or not, we learned selfish tendencies, and in more than just materialistic ways. We have been taught to look after ourselves first, and while this can be important to keep ourselves healthy (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), unfortunately we often slip into habits of greed and selfishness, sometimes without even realizing it.
The way we interact with people may be selfish. Do we wish to surround ourselves with people that will make us feel good all the time? Do we want to only be surrounded by people that fit a certain criteria? If we surround ourselves with people that must make us feel good all time and never be truly honest or challenge us to grow to be better people, then we are simply being proud. Relationships should be rooted in love, and a desire to lead each other to holiness. If we only have friends because they make us feel good, or they satisfy a need for entertainment, then it should not surprise us if eventually those relationships wither and die.
Although there is beauty in friendship, and there can certainly be good fruits from many of our relationships, the goal should not be our own satisfaction. We certainly need care and love, and it is definitely necessary at times to ask in humility for respect and love from those that claim to love us, but the end result should aim to help the other grow closer to Christ.
Do we often think about others first? When we do things for people, do feel like we need to always be thanked, praised, or paid back? If we are truly acting out of love, then we should not feel the need for all or any of those things. Love does not require a payback, a thank you, or recognition from other people. Of course we should do what we can to thank those who are loving towards us, but when we are bitter when we are not noticed for being loving, then that loving action instantly becomes twisted with our pride. When we love, maybe we should just love expecting nothing at all. We should see the love we give as a reward in itself.
Let temporal things be in the use, eternal things in the desire.” ― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
I am not saying it is not a worthy pursuit to be happy. What I can say, however, is that holiness ultimately trumps an earthly happiness. What should take priority above all things, even our own happiness, is being holy, and seeking to have a good relationship with Christ. There are things in life that require sacrifice. There are things in life that will hurt, and that hurt may go on for a long time. There are things in life that maybe we didn’t plan or even want, but have been given to us to help us to grow strong, and to grow in love.
If when we were children and we were taught in schools to do what made us happy rather than to always do what is right, imagine the chaos our world would be in. If we were taught growing up to love, to do the right thing, even if it meant not getting what we wanted, and to be selfless, we would live in a world where things would be much different. If we each sought actual holiness instead of happiness, I think in turn we will also find happiness. Happiness does not always lead to holiness, but holiness will lead to a joy far greater in heaven.
During this lenten season, we are called to reflect on our relationship with Christ and prepare ourselves for Easter. The Church calls us to fast, to pray, and to give alms. We should hold ourselves accountable for sins of selfishness and greed that may be in the way of having a better relationship with God, and with the people that surround us in our homes, workplaces, and in society in general. Let us seek to live our lives that are holy above all else, that seek simplicity and truth, and that help us to be humble. The things we accumulate in this world will not come with us when we die. If we wish to accumulate something in life, it should be acts of love, and a desire to love selflessly above all else. This is what will yield good fruit, if not in this world, then in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
Posted on March 9, 2015, in Catholic, Christian, Christian Life, counsel, education, faith, forgiveness, Friendship, greed, Love, morality, Relationships, selfishness, selflessness, Virtue and tagged Catholic, Friendship, greed, love, selfish, selflessness, sin. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.