Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Living in a Material World

This morning, Dennis posed a question regarding getting/having material goods. He asked if there was anything wrong with seeking and getting material items that are beyond the mere necessity.

In discussing piano purchases, he further asked, "If someone is considering purchasing a piano and the choices are between one that is $1,000 and another that is $15,000, is purchasing the less expensive one more noble?" Noble? Is it a matter of nobility? Or prudence?

Anyway, many callers rang and seemed to voice concerns and worries that sounded somewhat manichean or spiritualist. Material goods are neither good nor evil. In a sense, they are neutral. It depends partially upon how they are used. The goods in themselves have no inherent moral value. That morality comes in when consideration is given to how the goods were made, how they were attained, and how they are used.

Creation is good. It is to be used according to its nature. Each item of the material world is to be used according to the nature of the item, according to "what it is for." Very simple.

To say that a wealthy man who tithes generously and demonstrates great concern for those who have considerably less errs because he spends on material items for himself and his loved ones is wrong, misguided, and unrealistic.

We are material beings and so we are made to use the material world. To use it for our enjoyment. To use it for our work. To use it for our betterment. To use it. However, we must use it responsibly, which means that we should use "things" from the material world according to what they are for, according to their natures. Material "things" can be abused and misused, yes, but they necessarily are not so.

Attempts to strive beyond the material world and live a "human" life rejecting the material is really rejecting the "human" part of the life of the human person. Without grace, it is to attempt to be like angels ... and, as has been said countless times, ... when men attempt to be like angels, they quite often end up like devils.

So enjoy the material. Just do it in moderation and with prudence. Perhaps that is what Dennis should have been stressing: moderation and the prudential use of things. Now it is time to play some more CD's and listen to music while I continue to work on the computer and read a book.

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