Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
In the Gospel today Jesus cautions that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve God and serve mammon. We typically define “mammon” as the accumulation of wealth or riches, which makes sense in the context of this Gospel story, but really mammon could be anything that separates us from God or distracts us from serving God. In our modern world we are pulled in so many different directions, it can be overwhelming to consider all the things distracting us from God!
It is also important to realize that not everything that could be a distraction or an impediment has to be so. Consider the accumulation of wealth. God does not necessarily ask that we all take vows of poverty. Indeed, in our society, money is needed to take care of ourselves and our families, and to do the very work of God in the world.
If we strive to serve God, we must intentionally discern what is of God and what is not of God. St. Ignatius of Loyola, a spiritual master on discernment, teaches that this discernment is something we do every day. Ignatius tells us that feelings and desires that bring us joy and happiness or experiences of faith, hope, and love are all of God. On the contrary, when we experience fear, inadequacy, or doubt, we recognize these feelings are not of God. As we grow in faith and relationship with God, we are better able to discern what is of God—namely, what brings us spiritual consolation—as well as those things that are not of God and bring spiritual desolation.
Our financial resources can be an a stumbling block if they become the focus of our life, to the exclusion of God. This is true for any relationship, for our work, for our hobbies and interests, and certainly for the internet and social media. But these same things can be sources of joy, focus, and purpose if we first discern how God is inviting us to use them in relationship with, and in service of, Him.
I wish you and your loved ones blessings for good health, great hope, and clear discernment. Please continue to pray for peace,