CONSUMING CHRISTMAS WITH GREED AND MATERIALISM
Why has the celebration of the birth of Christ been adulterated to such an extent that we act as if we are deserving of so much more materially than He had on His day of birth?
Christ "so loved poverty that He chose for His mother not a rich and powerful queen, but a poor and humble Virgin. He willed to be born, not in a palace, but in a bleak stable, the manger of which, covered with a little straw, was His only couch." The Sinner's Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
The Pope also recently cautioned the world about materialism: Too many children are growing up in a world saturated with "false models of happiness" and being lured by unscrupulous adults into the "dead-end street of consumerism".
Where did it all go wrong? The West's wealth and love of money is unprecedented historically. We are told that capitalism is the best system but what happens when capitalism is devoid of morality and a sense of responsibility?
Greed has transformed capitalism. Corporate America panders to our base nature. It seeks out the latest, coolest, hippest and ultimately the lowest elements of our culture, repackages them, and seduces our senses, our children, and our pocketbooks with the lie that we will be happy.
Why this obsession with the temporal? Where has our sense of the holy and eternal gone?
It may, in part, have something to do with the the influence of Calvinism on our culture. Hillaire Belloc said of John Calvin and Calvinism, "In denying the efficacy of good deeds and of the human will, and abnegations, in leaving on one side as useless all the doctrine and tradition of Holy Poverty, Calvin opened the door to the domination of the mind by money. St Thomas had said it centuries before--that if men abandoned the idea of God as the supreme good they would tend to replace Him...[with]...material wealth". Hillaire Belloc, The Crisis of Civilization.
Following Calvin's logic, if our good deeds have no effect on our salvation, and we are predestined by the Divine Will to such an extent that man's free will is nullified-- then man can easily be consumed by temporal matters, and conversely ignore matters of the eternal. Why be so foolish as to forego the world's glitter and glamour if there is no eternal consequence to partaking in it?
"Man cannot freely rise to God and the contemplation of His beauty while he is breathless in pursuit of riches. A heart filled with material and earthly pleasures can never know spiritual and divine joys. No, it is impossible to unite what is false with what is true; what is spiritual with what is carnal; what is temporal with what is eternal; they can never dwell together in one heart." The Sinner's Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Pope Benedict recently asked Christians to consider that at the time of death, "we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity."