Saturday, May 26, 2007

THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD

Some more meandering thoughts over a busy weekend.
At the University of Akron there was a sociology professor who taught me a thing or two about life. One of the most helpful things he taught was that “class” was a state of mind, not a monetary designation. Someone can be filthy rich, but be a terribly low class person. Conversely another could be dirt poor and have that class and dignity that we like to attribute to royalty.

When imagining being happier, so many people begin with the idea of having more money. I won’t argue that a certain amount of it sure makes life easier, but it does not necessary have much of a correlation with happiness. The richest person in the world is not the one with the most stuff. Wealth is relative. The wealthiest people in the world are those who are satisfied with what they have.

One of my sisters is like that. It drives me nuts. She doesn’t want or need anything. In fact, she wants less than what she has. As gracious as she may be, it makes birthdays and Christmas a real pain trying to find a perfect gift for her. She is rich beyond all accounting.

These wealthy people cannot be bribed. It is difficult to tempt them. What more could you give them? If you accidentally break something that belongs to them they do not get upset. They say, “Oh well,” and move along. My Mom was famous for this. If she lost something, even something she particularly liked she would simply say, “I hope whoever finds it needs it more than did,” and happily go on with life.

Catholics, we are so rich. You have more wealth than you even know what to do with. You were baptized into the Body of Christ and made priests, prophets, and kings. At your confirmation you received the Holy Spirit and empowered as a soldier of Christ. This weekend your birthday is being celebrated along with over one billion of your closest friends. If you have your soul set for heaven, you have been successful in this life even if you achieve nothing else.

Pentecost is a time to celebrate this great fortune. Being satisfied and celebrating it is in itself an act of gratitude to God. Why not celebrate by doing something outrageously Catholic this weekend. Make it a challenge.

3 comments:

Winnipeg Catholic said...

A beautiful post!

Taps into B16's thoughts on the beatitudes 'Blessed are the poor in spirit' as well.

One set of my grandparents were poor, but extremely wealthy in spirit. Its like you can take any set of circumstances and turn them into a blessing with the help of grace. Not so much material wealth or poverty, but an ability to view one's circumstances, whatever they are as a call to the kingdom of heaven.

But then there's no denying that the well endowed of the world, be that endowment wealth, charm, or sexual attractiveness have more demons to wrestle with in some sense. Just look at Paris Hilton with her entourage constantly reinforcing her warped view of reality and pouring more hubris into her mouth. I hope her jail time really does get her closer to god.

Val said...

As an ex-Lutheran (currently agnostic), I have to say that reading your blog is the closest that I've ever come to feeling God's grace.

Adoro te Devote said...

We had a beautiful Mass today. And it was a special one, for me, too...it was the first time in over a year or two (or maybe more) that I went to Mass with my family. My Mom, brother, and his girlfriend, (hopefully soon to be sister in law) came up to visit this weekend and we went to Mass this morning at my church. I just sat there with this sense of gratitude, overwhelmed by it. And just as when we were kids, we sat with me on Mom's right, my brother on her left, and now, his girlfriend on his left. (We've considered her a part of our family for a long time now).

I don't think it's insignificant that this first Mass together in years was on Pentecost.