My Spiritual Guide for Souls  healing meditations for praying the Divine Mercy chaplet -- very anointed and potent especially for the Lenten season but all year round: the words of Jesus to Saint Faustina Kowalska, with the imprimatur of Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland: just beautiful prayers and messages that will bring home and into the soul the power of Divine Mercy; timeless reflections! CLICK HERE



We live in tight times and like many if not most of you, we try to live frugally. There is joy in driving a car that's more than eighteen years old (especially when kids are in Catholic school), strange as that may sound to many. The current economic climate is tight, and for all of us, if it continues, and if it instills goodness, that's a good thing.

For our society has gone wildly excessive. We need to simplify.

Remember what your grandmother said? "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

In the U.S., we throw away a third or more of our food. We also toss out computers, cars, cell phones, and plastic with pure, incredible abandon, like we used to toss away paper cups.

God cannot like this.

A regression -- to the goodness of using all that nature produces, using it well, and using it in a way that does not negatively alter nature, nor bloat the body -- is necessary. If we don't do it, events are coming that will do it for us.

It simply can not go on as it has been in the name of "prosperity."

This is false wealth. It is the wealth of worldliness. It redounds against our afterlife. Capitalism should reward those who contribute and help others, those who invent (not those who finesse the system).

John Paul II had addressed it, and then Benedict came along and during his first Good Friday as Pope had made a stunning series of meditations that included one at the Seventh Station of the Cross in which he said that "we have lost our sense of sin! Today a slick campaign of propaganda is spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality, and selfishness as if they were new heights of sophistication.”

The Pope implored Christ to "let us see the filth around us and recognize it for what it is."

The previous weekend he had said that selfishness and corruption were devastating mankind and asked mankind to help heal what he called a "lacerated world."

Christ’s message, said Benedict XVI, was "to overcome the corruption and selfishness which is devastating the world today."

Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI repeatedly preached that capitalism is only good if the people in the system are good --  and loving fellow humans with unselfishness in large part defines that.

Wearing red and white vestments, the current pontiff urged young people not to give in to the temptations of worldly riches and moral irresponsibility, which he called "the language of the serpent" – a reference to Genesis, which may have had more direct bearing, as we soon shall one day see, than was immediately apparent.

What is immediately evident, the pontiffs clearly stated, is that there has been a rent; there is “laceration.” Something was torn. The fabric of Creation has been ripped. And it was not just due to abortion, immorality, and pollution but also by the type of materialism that allowed a chairman of a major oil company to depart with $400 million in severance after failing a company and others to hoard billions while the rest of the country struggles to pay far higher prices for the goods that made that person billions and many worldwide die due to lack of food or energy or means of hygiene. As in no other time, money talks and what it says is that your worth has a numerical value (and that the greatest of modern "saints" are billionaires).

In previous times, in better times, in God-centered times, the system worked to reward those who helped -- not milked -- mankind.

The latter is what Benedict called the way of the tempter and as his meditation continued: "Our world is made of two rooms: in one room, things go to waste, in the other, people are wasting away." It was a simple, stunning truth that in places like Haiti – where the occult had already worked a "chastisement" (and where storm after storm hit) – it took just $91 to buy enough to keep a family of five alive for a year on rice and beans, folks so desperate that they were known to mix salt, water, and clay for a "meal." That ninety dollars was not quite enough in the U.S. to fill the tank on a large SUV. (When you were talking about folks who had not one billion, but several billions, they make that amount of money every minute (in interest).)

There are rich people who are holy. No doubt, many are good. But too many of us – rich or average – are consuming more than we have a right to consume and discarding products after astonishingly brief use -- often because we have no choice (it cost more to repair an item or buy a tiny replacement part than to simply purchase a whole new item).

It should not be a political issue. There are transgressions on all sides. It is a great deception of our time that a conservative cannot be a conservationist, that a pro-lifer must be a hyper-capitalist. (It has nothing to do with tree-hugging.) It is not an issue of liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats, Tories or Labor.

It should be an issue of goodness.

During his Good Friday in 2006, Pope Benedict referred to attacks on traditional family life as "a kind of Fourth Station, of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride" which sought to "modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God." The first sign of charity, he had said earlier, must be "sought in Creation… the heavens, the earth, the waters, the sun, the moon, and the stars."

There is “a Divine message secretly inscribed in Creation,” a sign, said the Pope, of "the loving faithfulness of God Who gives His creatures being and life, water and food, light and time."

It is from such created works, he said, that "one ascends to the greatness of God, to His loving mercy." Light and love are the same, he noted. They are "the primordial creative power that moves the universe." When we ruin it, when we pollute, when we alter it beyond recognition – not just use something, but ruin it – we are violating love (and “against the accordance of the Will of God,” to quote the 1990 prophecy). "Satan is actively trying to destroy the planet, the environment, and even nature," the Virgin once said in apparition. "Only through prayer and fasting can he be stopped."

Lent is an excellent time to get into the mode of frugality; it is also time to revisit the example of frugal saints like St. Francis of Assisi, who loved (did not worship, but loved) nature. We are stewards over it. We have no license (in the name of mammon) to annihilate it.

[adapted from Tower of Light]

[see also: What it costs to 'live large', The rise of the casino culture and fall of character, and God's Creation: the adverse effects of genetically-modified food]

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