Pope Benedict XVI, in one of his World Youth Day messages, said: "It is incumbent upon religious people to demonstrate that it is possible to find joy in living simply and modestly, generously sharing one's surplus with others."

This comment strikes me as both balanced and extremely important, especially given our present financial crisis in the U. S.  Money is a tool given to us by God to accomplish responsibilities that he has entrusted to us. When money is viewed as an end in itself unhealthy desires will grow. The Catholic Catechism (No. 2536) says: "Our thirst for another's goods is immense, infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written: 'He who loves money never has money enough.'"

There are many philosophies among Christians about making, managing and giving money. There are a clearly a number of legitimate, and illegitimate, ways to make money. I think the pope's counsel is wise to keep before us regardless of the way we seek to make wealth.

We have clearly overextended ourselves as a society, or should we say many of us have personally overextended ourselves, which now impacts the whole of our country. The government is also involved in this matter since it manages the money supply. When it creates huge debt this obviously presents major problems.

We are all stewards of divine providence. In no area is this more apparent than in gaining and spending money. Maybe this is why the Lord has so much to say about it. We ignore the wisdom of ancient Scripture to our peril.