Happy chinese new year!! Gong xi fa cai!

As we celebrate and wish for a more prosperous Tiger year. I think it is good to ponder about prosperity. This weekend, I read few books and articles about wealth.

Let me begin with the definition of wealth according to Oxford dictionary. Wealth is an abundance of valuable possessions or money. Wealth also means the state of being rich.

I dare to say that everybody desires to be wealthy.

How can this desire for wealth is universal? Is it just a culture or trend? Where does this desire come from?

I discovered some explanations regarding the desire of wealth.

“Just as we are free on the inside because we can call our soul our own, so we want to be free on the outside by calling possession our own. Personal or private ownership is natural to man, it is the economic guarantee of freedom as the soul is its spiritual guarantee.”  Page 156, Peace of Soul, Fulton Sheen

This desire of private possession and accumulation of wealth is a natural response because of our desire to be free. When we posses wealth, we are free to do whatever we want to it. We can’t give what we don’t have. Being free is one of God’s characteristic.

“For, every man has by nature the right to posses property as his own” Paragraph 6, Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII

He also wrote that the reason or motive of working is to obtain property and to hold it as his very own. As we are working we receive in return remuneration as the exchange of our strength or skill or knowledge in the work that we accomplished. This reward (a.k.a money) is used for the satisfaction of our needs, and the excess of it we save it or invest his savings in properties which is owned by us. Working is also part of God’s plan, referring to my previous post.  Lastly in paragraph 9, “private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature.”

If this desire is good and it is from God, why there are many verses in the bible are written against wealth and prosperity? Why wealthy people are con-notated as bad people? Fulton sheen further elaborated that all the good desire from God can be perverted. The perverted version of desire for wealth is avarice or greed. It happens when the possession or wealth no longer become the object but the subject. It is no longer man that posses wealth, but wealth that posses man. Man is not free, but become the slave of wealth.

This two articles help me to reflect and answer my questions. Everybody desires to be wealthy because God gives us the desire, as we have the desire to eat.

I am writing this not to justified my own intention or to undermined poverty because there are some holy souls who are called by God who take the vow of poverty for the sake of balancing the perversion in the Body. In conclusion, as we are hungry for food, or hungry for possession, we should be hungry for the Giver first.

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well” -Matt 6 :33

Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum