The Anxiety of Mammon and Peace of Soul - Seeking First the Kingdom of God
What is “mammon” – it represents material wealth or possessions … but really is anything that occupies our appetites, desires … our wills.
So today the question Jesus puts to us is: “who is the master of your life”? God or mammon? Perhaps you are not sure? Jesus strongly and clearly teaches today that the test for whether our attachment to mammon is too great is whether we find ourselves anxious and worried, all too often consumed with preoccupation with the world, harmful desires, addictions, compulsions we cannot do without, comforts and distractions which take our minds off God, neighbor and even the state of our own soul and relationship with God.
Even the origins and root of the word “anxious” means literally to “be of two minds.” No wonder Jesus puts his finger on anxiety and worry when he lays down the ultimatum that we cannot serve two masters – God and worldliness.
One who is anxious is seized and tossed about, back and forth by indecision, uncertainty, doubt. This is caused by the war (spiritual warfare) inside each of us between God and mammon… God and the world… God’s will and our self-interested will… which master will we serve?
This is really what our Christian spiritual life is all about working through. The sooner we can give ourselves completely to God, the true master of the universe and our souls … the sooner we experience the hallmarks of one in union with God… who serves only Him: PEACE of soul, JOY, HAPPINESS, CONFIDENCE in God.
Compare those fruits of the Holy Spirit to the fruits of anxiety and worry – which is to sap the soul of the desire and strength required for virtue, to resist sinful attachments. The soul that is not experiencing an abiding peace of soul is one that does not pray or at least not regularly enough to develop and grow in union with God. One who is anxious and worried, divided in mind and heart between God and mammon… is not attentive to the needs of others, but rather turned inward in a negative way, engaging in a wretched self-introspection, which only results in discouragement and opens one up to the tragedy of despair.
When we are anxious and worried about worldly things – which includes our own preoccupation with what others think of us, how others perceive us and the desire for human praise and acceptance, this prevents us from witnessing to Christ in a culture that is consumed by impurity, greed and narcissim. We become fearful and timid, weak in our resolve to witness our Christian beliefs and stand up for injustice and reject immorality. (Have we spoken out in our family and friendly circles about the meaning of Christ’s love? The meaning of marriage? Why abortion, contraception, euthanasia are evil? The importance of liberty, especially religious liberty and individual responsibility? That it is our obligation, not the government or anyone else to care for those in need aroud us?) Are we afraid to pray together, to speak of Christ and the truth in love? Let us turn to the true Master – Jesus Christ for the grace to give ourselves completely to Him.
What is the answer? What must we do? Jesus tells us plainly today: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” God will provide. Trustful surrender to His providential care is our calling.
We crowd out our attachment to mammon by turning away from attachments and filling our souls with God – His Word, Sacraments (Euch/Conf), obedience in humility to His commandments handed down through His Church, spiritual reading, prayer, penance/ detachment from the world and service in love of neighbor will spontaneously flow from you because your eyes will be off yourself and you will see God and neighbor in a new and wonderful way.
This is the action of grace on the soul, which God offers every moment and in the sacraments… by living in the present moment, without anxiety and worry about our worldly attachments. The Kingdom of God means to seek His Will in the present moment. Do not worry about tomorrow … the Lord’s grace is offered now … today. Peace+ DDG