THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
10 September 2017
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We cannot serve God and mammon. That is, we cannot truly serve God while we labor for any-other thing. All our labors must be for God. It is Him alone that we serve. Many have imagined that this is permission or authorization for them to not do any physical labor. This is the farthest thing from the truth. St. Paul instructs us to work; and those who will not work, neither should they eat. The wise man in the Psalms instructs the sluggard to go and learn from the ant.
Jesus would have us work and to earn our daily bread. However, He does not want us to labor directly for our daily bread. We are to perform our required labors for His honor and glory not for our own honor, glory or pleasure. St. Paul gives us the example that we are to labor so that we may have something to give to those who are in need. Parents are to labor so that they may provide for their children and for each other. He who neglects those of his own household has denied the faith. Perhaps, the key is to forget ourselves, and out of love for others to worthily put forth our best efforts. In serving one another, we serve Christ. In laboring for one another, we labor for Christ. What you do for the least of My brethren you do for Me.
In directing our intentions in this way, we are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Justice. Our labors are truly for Him. In understanding that we are laboring for Christ, we are to be motivated to do our best. Even though the true Catholic may not be the best in his field, he will often out perform others simply because of his intentions. His desire to put forth his best efforts and give it his all, because he is doing it for the love of God, places his labors above the others that are only seeking to do as little as possible.
As He has promised, we will also receive all that we need for our bodies. The Catholic that has spiritualized his intentions and sanctified his manual labors gives honor and glory to God, gains merit for heaven, does very good work, and he also receives the material compensation of this world and is able to care for himself and others. It is truly a win win situation for us.
Another aspect for us to consider is that our bodies were made to work. Those who will not or cannot work usually end up very unhealthy. In rebelling against nature and God's law to work, our bodies rebel against us. The sluggard not only harms his body, but also his soul. When we fail to discipline the body, we render ourselves incapable of controlling our fallen nature and we become the playthings of every temptation that comes along.
If we gratify one inordinate pleasure, we set the stage to be assaulted by all the others. Once the door of the passions has been opened, even a little, there seems to be no end to them. One after the other presents itself, enticing, deceiving, and enslaving us. When we opened the door we believed that we were in control (and in that moment we were) but, once the door to our passions is opened we cease to be masters and immediately become slaves. The passions are very cruel masters. There is never a point when the passions can say enough. It is a steep slope into the depths of damnation. The passionate soul can never rest; he can never find peace, but is constantly agitated. The passions promise happiness, but can only deliver fleeting pleasures that are soon followed by agony of conscience. If you choose to obey this master, you soon discover that you no longer have time to serve God. The passions give no rest to the soul. They are relentless.
If we choose God as our Master and seek to serve Him, we soon discover the emptiness and deceitfulness of the passions. We find rest for our souls in serving God. We find real and lasting happiness and not fleeting deceitful pleasures. In all the activities of our lives here on earth, we can observe those who are serving God. They display: peace, calm, patience, and happiness; despite all that they must do. We can also observe those serving the world. They are: rushed, impatient, sad, anxious; and generally miserable.
We cannot avoid serving one or the other, but the choice is in our own hands. May we truly love God and seek to serve Him alone. In this we will find true and everlasting happiness in heaven, but we will also be given foretastes of this happiness while we are still here on earth. Let us taste and see how good the Lord is. All our crosses in this life are made light, sweet, and joyful when we carry them for Him. They are made increasingly heavier, more bitter and painful when we carry them in service to Mammon.
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