Saturday, August 25, 2007


There are several degrees of greed, from the harmless to the most serious. The first degree is when we want to be united with God, but find the need to seek food, shelter and clothing in order to pursue our quest. The desire for food, shelter and clothing may be described as a harmless form of greed, and may be no greed at all.

The second degree, however, may then be aptly called the beginning of greed : this is when we remove our focus from God and turn our gaze down towards food, shelter and clothing. This can go on to the next (third) degree of greed which is now becoming more grievous because we begin to desire nice food, nice shelter and nice clothings; in which case the desire for more money is cultivated. From here it can go to the desire for even nicer food, nicer shelter and nicer clothing; in which case a greater fortune is needed. Such was the vice of the man who tore down his barn to build a bigger one; and that of the young rich man who rejected Christ's invitation to follow Him. The former wanted more, the latter wanted to keep what he already had.

At first sight it is difficult to see what is wrong with these two men. But the root of their problem is pride, and its fruit? Apostasy.

The beginning of greed , or avarice, as we mentioned above, is when a soul forgets his supernatural goal and focuses his faculties on food, shelter and clothing. And since avarice is the root of all evil (which is the more accurate translation according to St. Jerome), then we have the root of the dictatorship of relativism, of liberalism and all other modern evils.

When a person wants more food, more shelter and more clothing, and he is incapable of raising the money for them, he is open to all forms of graft and corruption (all evil) which essentially are acts of stealing; thus the saying, avarice is the root of all evil.

Why are the greedy insatiable? Because they cannot see what they already have, both from God and from those around them, in their greed to acquire what they still do not have. So, naturally, they are ungrateful, the sign of pride.

Our civilization is one that enthrones Avarice; s0 that like original sin, the vice is interred into the bones of every child. Greed is the immoderate desire for temporal things. It is the handmaid of apostasy. Is it any wonder, then, that we are experiencing a great apostasy in the Church today, of which St. Paul warns us is a prelude to the end times? ("The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Murillo, 1670.)