National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Don’t Worry. Be Godly.

Family Matters- Financial Life

BY Phil Lenahan

May 18-24, 2008 Issue | Posted 5/13/08 at 1:59 PM

 

I want to trust in God completely in every aspect of my life, but I can’t seem to stop my mind from worrying over how I’ll make ends meet.

A few weeks ago, Veritas Financial Ministries began hosting an online discussion on faith and finance. (It’s still up at forums.catholic.com.) To my surprise, the most frequently visited thread was one titled, “Do You Worry About Money?”

Like you, the woman who started the thread wrote of the challenge of making ends meet as prices — especially gas prices — soar. Her family was in a relatively good financial position, with their only debt being their mortgage.

Forum participants chimed in with their own situations. It is obvious that money issues create a lot of worry for many of us, with the exception of the gentleman who wrote, “How do you worry about what you don’t have?”

How should we respond to the concerns on our hearts about our financial situation? Jesus makes it clear from a supernatural perspective that we shouldn’t let our concerns about money weigh us down. In Matthew 6:31-33, he says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

Our Lord’s words should give us great comfort, even in the midst of trials. And yet, is our Lord saying that we should throw caution to the wind and not actively seek to improve our situation for the well-being of our family and those around us? I think not.

Elsewhere Jesus says, “For which of you desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). Catholic teaching always provides a beautiful sense of balance. How we view our financial circumstances needs to reflect that balance. How can we know we are doing what we should? By following Godly principles.

• Do you recognize that ultimately all you have belongs to the Lord?

• Are you responsibly fulfilling God’s call to be his manager, or as the Catechism says, a steward of Providence? Do you have a financial plan?

• Are you being generous with your resources — from your first fruits rather than out of what is left over?

• Are you living within your means and avoiding unproductive debt, especially credit-card debt?

By following Godly principles for managing money, we can be confident we are living out this area in the balanced manner our Lord desires for us, even in times of economic uncertainty.

St. Ignatius Loyola said it well when he said, “Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended on you.” God love you.


Phil Lenahan is president of Veritas Financial Ministries

(VeritasFinancialMinistries.com).