What Do We Do With Money?
Week Thirty-Eight Summary and Practice
Sunday, September 19—Friday, September 24, 2021
Money and soul have never been separate in our unconscious because they are both about human exchanges, and therefore, divine exchange. —Richard Rohr
The reign of God is a worldview of abundance. God lifts us up from a worldview of scarcity to infinity. —Richard Rohr
I believe personal evil is committed rather freely because it is derived from and legitimated by our underlying, unspoken agreement that certain evils are necessary for the common good. —Richard Rohr
Money becomes evil when rights are not balanced by responsibilities, and responsibilities are not balanced by rights. When these are balanced, money can do a great deal of good—both for the giver and the receiver, and hopefully for others. —Richard Rohr
We don’t “deserve” anything, anything! It’s all a gift. To understand the Gospel in its radical, transformative power, we have to stop counting, measuring, and weighing. —Richard Rohr
Could the crazy notion of self-emptying, a notion found in different forms in many religious traditions, be a clue to what is wrong with our way of being in the world as well as a suggestion of how we might live differently? —Sallie McFague
Letting Go of Things
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:19–21
Minister Adele Ahlberg Calhoun believes that by simplifying our lives, we bring ourselves into greater alignment with God’s will.
Jesus wants us to know that we don’t need all the things or experiences we think we do. What we really need is to keep first things first—Jesus and his kingdom. Life becomes much more simple when one thing matters most. . . .
Simplicity creates margins and spaces and openness in our lives. It honors the resources of our small planet. It offers us the leisure of tasting the present moment. Simplicity asks us to let go of the tangle of wants so we can receive the simple gifts of life that cannot be taken away. Sleeping, eating, walking, giving and receiving love. . . . Simplicity invites us into these daily pleasures that can open us to God, who is present in them all.
Aging has always been about simplifying and letting go. Sooner or later we realize that we can’t manage all the stuff and activity anymore. We have to let go. The practice of letting go and embracing simplicity is one way we prepare ourselves for what is to come. One day we all will have to let go of everything—even our own breath. It will be a day of utter simplicity—a day when the importance of stuff fades. Learning to live simply prepares us for our last breath while cultivating in us the freedom to truly live here and now.
Here are some of the practices for simplifying Calhoun suggests:
- Uncomplicate your life by choosing a few areas in which you wish to practice “letting go.” Clean out the garage, basement, closet or attic. Go on a simple vacation. Eat more simply. . . .
- Intentionally limit your choices. Do you need six different kinds of breakfast cereal, hundreds of TV channels or four tennis rackets? What is it like to limit your choices? Does it feel free, or do want and envy surface? Talk to God about this.
- If someone admires something of yours, give it away. Find out just how attached you are to your things. . . .
- Make a catalog of all the gadgets you have in your home, from the dishwasher to the lawnmower. Which gadgets have made you freer? Which could you share? Which could you get rid of and not really miss?
- Where have you complicated your life with God? Consider what actually brings you into the presence of Christ. Spend time there.
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (InterVarsity Press: 2005), 75–76.
To learn about how CAC seeks to align financial practices with Fr. Richard’s teachings on money, read this article by Cindy Kroll, the Center’s Managing Director of Finance and Business Analytics.