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AT A TIME OF EXTRAORDINARY MATERIALISM IS URGENCY TO AVOID HELL OF WORLDLINESS
We hear it all the time: we are not to be worldly. But what does "worldly" mean?
It's a question that comes at the hour that worldliness is beginning to fall. Don't fall with it. How worldly are you? Are there hidden pockets of it? In what ways are you materialistic -- bound to the earth?
Christ came into this world to show us that there were two ways of viewing reality: through the prism of the world, and through the prism of the Spirit. There are those who see the events in the world one way, and those another. Walk into a secular bookstore, or a mall, and you are in the middle of the "world." The Oscars and Super Bowl take us to the epitome of it.
Those who see things in a "worldly" way view them from the perspective of the earthly and physical. There is the "dirt" on celebrities. There are the "filthy rich." Note the earthly metaphors. They see physical cause as the operative force. They view happenings are having a sheer physical origin (although, as if to hedge bets, they may profess a partial religiosity).
On the other hand, those with a spiritual view see the world as Scripture does: as a "passing" place, as a valley of tears (and trial). They see many "accomplishments" in the material realm as temptations and avoid a "just this world" perspective -- realizing, correctly, that true life is after.
Now, such isn't to say that we are to divorce ourselves from physical reality, nor disdain all accomplishments. We can't. We are spirits who are currently having a "physical experience." But it's a great mistake to limit your view to just that. The Vatican has constantly warned about a materialistic outlook, and material -- again -- is physical. It comes not from Heaven but the dust below it.
Even priests fall into this trap. It is why there is a lack of spirituality at seminaries.
We place a premium on worldly intellectualism. We idolize the brain (instead of focusing on the spirit). We pay too much attention to earthly "accomplishments."
Cars. Homes. Clothes. Many are those who are bedazzled by the accomplishments of men because they view everything as physical effects. They gauge a person on how much material that person has collected. A huge trap this is. Materialism blinds. It is why financial "experts" did not see the crisis coming.
There are also those who are caught in-between. They believe that they can have it both ways, that they can have their cake and eat it too. They are mistaken. God doesn't want us lukewarm. We must make a living in the world, but if we respect worldly accomplishments above spiritual ones, we are down the wrong path. When God sent down His only Son, it was to show us that this world is in the grips of a prince called the devil, who offered Jesus Himself worldly kingdoms. Christ refused them.
This also has occurred during near-death experiences. Those who come back disdain material accomplishments. There was a man named Don Brubaker who found himself plunging in a dark tunnel in the presence of Satan, who told him he could avoid all pain and anguish and have anything he liked if he would just follow him. "Visions of wealth appeared before my eyes," said Don, "like a three-dimensional movie. Diamonds, money, cars, gold, beautiful women, everything. I was overwhelmed by the vision. I could almost touch it, it seemed so real."
At Medjugorje, the devil appeared as an extremely handsome man and offered the seer "happiness in life and love" if she would follow him (instead of the Blessed Mother).
What Mary said, when she appeared, is that if we are close enough to her we may have our trials on earth, but we won't even feel the passage of death.
Now that's a promise! On the other hand, an obsession with something material can detain a soul to a purgatory on earth.
We are living in a period during which we too have been tempted and now have the golden opportunity to realize it.
What is worldly?
A focus on earthly success, a focus on competition (instead of cooperation), a focus on self (instead of on others). Remember the bottom line of "dust to dust."
We are to enjoy the bounty of God but share it and not hold material gains up as a defining moment.
That's idolatry, a root of paganism, and it binds us to the earth (here and hereafter).
[resources: The Other Side and After Life]
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