Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mk 10:17-30 Money and Happiness

Mk 10:17-30  Money and Happiness
Peter began to say to [Jesus], “We have given up everything and followed you.”  Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…”
 “Money does not make people happy.”   I agree.  But I know what you are thinking:  “Father, that’s easy for you to say since you don’t have much money.”  Okay.  I admit it.  But don’t take my word for it; take the word of those who had money and gave it all away. 
Millionaire gives away fortune that made him miserable.  That’s the newspaper title.  Mr. Rabeder, 49, an Austrian businessman, is more than just ready to give his money away.  He’s actually doing it, and doing it quickly.  What made him decide to do it; to give it all and rid himself of all his material wealth and luxuries?   
“For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness.  I came from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years.  But more and more I heard the words:  ‘Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life.’  I had the feeling that I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.” 
The tipping point came while he was on a three-week holiday with his wife to Hawaii.
“It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is”, he said.  “In those three weeks, we spent all the money you could possibly spend.  But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn’t met a single real person – that we were all just actors.  The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real.”
If you think he’s nuts, then I have another one for you.
“Kwik Save” tycoon gives up riches in “pact with God”.  Here’s another headline from a United Kingdom newspaper.  As a young boy, Albert Gubay, was a penniless orphan.  One day, he prayed to God saying, “Make me a millionaire and you can have half of my money.”  A devout Roman Catholic, Gubay became a multi-millionaire.  Just recently, he decided to fulfill his vow to God, but not exactly.  Instead of giving just half of it away, He has decided to give all his money to the Catholic Church.  In fact, he is only holding on to ten million dollars for him and his wife. 
Are they all nuts?  No.  They are not.  They are prudent.  They know a better deal when they see it.  They know the truth.  We should know it too by now.  Money does not make you happy.  Giving it away does!
How do I want people to remember me?  Do I want them to remember me for what I had or what I did?  Or do I want them to remember me for how I loved?  That is the million dollar question.  Actually, this is the rich young man’s question.  The Lord answers his question with an invitation:  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.”
Do you want people to treat you well because you have money?  Do you want people to love you because of what you have?  Or do you want to be loved for who you are and how you love?
Thank you very much!  Do you know the song, “Thank you very much!  Thank you very much!  That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me.”  Do you remember what musical it comes from?  From Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”, and it is sung by a man who owed Ebenezer Scrooge a lot of money.  He was thanking poor Ebenezer…for dying!
Price of Privilege.  I recently finished a book entitled, “The Price of Privilege” by Dr. Madeleine Levine, PhD.  Although I disagree with her on some of her recommendations, I cannot disagree with her on the statistical data and the clinical facts related to the problems she has seen. 
Many of Dr. Madeleine’s patients are teenagers from affluent households with excellent grades in school, extracurricular involvement and an appearance of thriving in their environment.  But they are suffering from debilitating neuroses, such as anxiety, depression, drug addiction, anorexia and self-harm.  In many affluent communities, external accomplishments such as prestige, power, and money for adults, or grades, clothes and electronics for kids, become more important than happiness.  Children in such communities are more likely to suffer from psychological problems then those who do not.
But money is not the problem; it's the problems that it creates.  And the problem is achievement pressures and emotional isolation from parents. 

Dr. Levine reports that a mother’s own happiness is the key to raising healthy kids, and found that there is an unexpectedly high rate of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, loneliness, and overall unhappiness among mothers of affluent households!  This is damaging to the children as well as to the mother.
How do I want my children to remember me?  For my drinking and drug-related problems? For how I "entertained" them and guests? For what I accomplished or had?  For how flawless I appeared before others? Or for how I loved them?   
The Lord invited the rich young man to follow him and to be happy.  Instead, the poor man decided to walk away sad…“for he had many possessions.”

How many of you feel as though people like you just because of the influence you have or for what you have?  I am sure the rich young man was surrounded by people who were looking to get something out of him:  special favors, privileges, acknowledgments, positions, money, etc. But unlike the people surrounding him, the Lord was not looking to get something from him.  In fact, He didn't want anything from him.  He just wanted him.   

The same goes for us as well.

1 comment:

  1. Father Alfonse,

    Could I ever relate to this meditation. My family grew up without having all the riches in the world. My mother had to take her wedding dress and cut it down so she could have another dress to wear. I was sure disappointed when I heard this because I would have felt extra beautiful to wear her wedding gown. When I needed clothes she would use her own clothes so that I could have clothes to wear. She used a sewing machine that was borrowed to make all the clothes. When we saw someone that had money to buy things like we wanted we were told that that's not what brings happeness. We weren't allowed to have it. We would make toys to play with and never had a toy that was a fade and would be here today and gone tomorrow. My Dad found out about a program that would allow him to continue his education and between that program and if there was any money left at the end of the month my parents were able for my Dad to receive his C.P.A. Certificate and open his own practice. We all did without and I feel so blessed to learn as a child that riches, latest trend, hottest toy, etc. aren't important. My husband and I have always lived our lives that way. My siblings, for some reason are living like millionaires. They don't care how much something is they will buy it. One of my siblings found out they were taking a big chunk out of his commission Even after that he still took three weeks off from work to party in New Orleans and Palm Springs. Both my husband and myself have learned to do without we have always made it a point to share with someone that is less fortunate. We just live our life appreciated with what we have and are truly blessed to remember how important the Lord is in or lives and not the hottest trends.


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.