Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keeping Faith & Hope

Despite a deal being reached to raise the debt ceiling, market reaction was less than positive. (At least gas prices are falling!). However, in times like these it's important to remember to keep faith and hope for better times.

It's true that I think we are suffering needlessly because of a grave misunderstanding of our financial system (of what money is, of how government finances work, of what causes inflation, etc.). But it's also true that suffering is not necessarily a bad thing.

We can always unite our suffering to Christ's and "offer it up" as they say in some schools and monasteries.

We must also remember that we are not made to live in this world forever. The things and experiences we enjoy here are not lasting and may even distract us from our true destination. In this way, suffering can be a good thing, it can help us turn away from material detachment to things that really matter: serving others, maintaining and creating loving relationships, striving to be the best we can be.

I think Pope Leo XIII said it best:
From contemplation of this divine Model, it is more easy to understand that the true worth and nobility of man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the common inheritance of men, equally within the reach of high and low, rich and poor; and that virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found, will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness. Nay, God Himself seems to incline rather to those who suffer misfortune; for Jesus Christ calls the poor "blessed"; He lovingly invites those in labor and grief to come to Him for solace; and He displays the tenderest charity toward the lowly and the oppressed. These reflections cannot fail to keep down the pride of the well-to-do, and to give heart to the unfortunate; to move the former to be generous and the latter to be moderate in their desires. Thus, the separation which pride would set up tends to disappear, nor will it be difficult to make rich and poor join hands in friendly concord.

But, if Christian precepts prevail, the respective classes will not only be united in the bonds of friendship, but also in those of brotherly love. For they will understand and feel that all men are children of the same common Father, who is God; that all have alike the same last end, which is God Himself, who alone can make either men or angels absolutely and perfectly happy; that each and all are redeemed and made sons of God, by Jesus Christ, "the first-born among many brethren"; that the blessings of nature and the gifts of grace belong to the whole human race in common, and that from none except the unworthy is withheld the inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven.

I do think that our government could make things better for not only our nation, but for other nations if they properly understood how their finances worked. We could have a more equitable distribution of wealth by making sure the poor obtained that which is necessary for maintaining their dignity. But I also think that even if the government (that is, their policies) were able to provide us with the material goods necessary to maintain our dignity, it would not be enough to make us happy or to earn the rewards of everlasting life. For that, we need virtue, brotherly love, faith in God and in each other, and hope for better times.
Would it not seem that, were society penetrated with ideas like these, strife must quickly cease?

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