Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pope: Greed is Good

From today's homily at Santa Marta, translated from the Italian and posted on the Vatican Radio website:
When we study the Gospels, we speak often of the idea of love. And rightly so. Jesus invites us to love God and love one another. But less emphasized is the concept of what we might call desire. God designed us to desire that which is good, though as a fallen creature, we do not always follow, so to speak, our design. But that is a separate theological issue I do not wish to pursue today. Rather, I will refer to desire, properly ordered. 
Let me speak frankly. Faith without desire is a hollow thing, a dead thing. And love without desire is a false love. For how can one love when one does not desire that which is loved? There are other words we could also use—thirst (sete), for example, longing (la voglia), even, as strange as this may sound to your ears, greed (avidità). Do not laugh! I know what you are thinking, the Bishop of Rome is getting old. He finally has lost it! No! No! Do not be misled by a mere word, but I use the word to shock and make my meaning plain. If we use, desire, or, yes, greed, it is the word appropriate to the object of our longing—an eternal banquet, not an accounting session. 
The point is, greed, properly interpreted, is good. Greed is right (il bene). Greed works (funzioni). Greed clarifies, elucidates and captures the essence of the Gospel message. Choose that for which your heart longs and you cannot go wrong! Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for love, for meaning, truth, has marked the upward surge of the Christian ideal through the centuries. 
Greed, bounded by justice and charity but expressed with openness and joy, will be a faithful companion in your own spiritual journey if you would only let it. And dare I say it, it may in the end help to rescue another entity, desperately in need of aid in these troubled times--the Catholic Church on earth.

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