Reaching “Financial Comfort” is a Myth

Have you ever thought, “Ok, if I can just get this job or this promotion, then i’ll be financially perfect.” The idea is that once you get this promotion, all your worries and cares will be able to be payed for and disappear. It is kind of a wonderful thought if you think about it. Complete security in knowing that tomorrow whatever comes you are in charge of your own fate. If boredom rears it’s ugly head, you can just buy something new and exciting! You can get a new dress that will make you look as timelessly attractive as the model in the magazine wearing it, or get a new slick pair of kicks that will redefine your entire wardrobe.


Yes, with money, boredom and depression can always be driven away in our modern world with a seemingly infinite access to entertainment and pleasure. If you have the dollar bills, then you have access to all the thrills. The line the media and our culture feeds us for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is that if you have money, you don’t really need God- He’s just back up.  The problem with this is that it is concluding that the depths of our human longings can be satisfied by mere comfort. So little has the modern world made the soul.


The truth is that this world will never be enough. Never. Ever. Never Enough. From the Billionaires to the Middle Class, every person no matter how much they have, they always want more. Yet, we believe this myth we tell ourselves, “If I only had that house, then i’d be set. If I only had that car, then i’d be set. If I only had that job, then i’d be set.” So what happens when we get the car, or the job, or the house? We feel great for a week, a month, maybe a few months, and then all of the sudden the crave haunts us again wanting the next best whatever. It never ends.


Please listen carefully to these refreshing words from Pope Francis, “Sometimes we are tempted to find excuses and complain, acting as if we could only be happy if a thousand conditions were met. To some extent this is because our ‘technological society has succeeded in multiplying occasions of pleasure, yet has found it very difficult to engender joy.” (Evangelii Gaudium 7) O Heart, please listen to this simple truth: Our hearts seek pleasure, but they are only satisfied by joy. Where do we encounter this joy? In our financial stability, in our unending access to pleasure? Is it binging on endless Netflix or Hulu? No, my dear friends joy is found in trusting in God.


“Happy those whose trust is in the Lord.” (Psalm 40)    


When we pressure ourselves to be responsible for our own fulfillment, we rob the Lord of His purpose. “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you, O God”, hails St. Augustine. This isn’t simply an allusion to heaven but to our daily lives. Right now, your heart is restless because you do not rest in God—you are seeking rest in your worldly security, and we do this in vain! Your cool new shoes you will eventually grow tired of them, and eventually there will be no more seasons of The Flash to watch on Netflix. Pleasure will always run out, and yet the Lord will never run out. Joy is lasting, joy is trusting expectation, joy is satisfying—joy is rest.    


Some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life are the poorest of the poor in Ecuador. they own so little that they are forced to rely on the Lord to feed them with food, shelter, and Himself. They receive all three and are thus not plagued with this endless pursuit of pleasure because they are filled to the brim with joy. What man desires poison to satiate his hunger when he has a feast of delicious foods before him?

So the question is where can God fill your longings with joy this week? Where can trusting in Him become an everlasting joy tomorrow? Don’t fall into the myth of the “American Ladder”, instead seek that which lasts farther than any fashion style, the joy of Christ, that which already satisfies all the Saints and Angels in heaven forever and ever.    


Alan Badia