“Did not God choose those are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”(James 2: 5). Political scientists and psychologists, however, remind us of the dehumanizing effect of long-term poverty and social inequality upon human beings with little or no other choice of life. So poverty as a social ill should be eliminated as far as possible.

What kind of poverty then should be sought as a key spiritual value and goal in life? Keep this in mind.  Money in itself is not an evil; the way that it is used makes it good or evil for those with more money than they here and now realistically need. To quote Thornton Wilder in his play The Matchmaker, “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”

—Fr. Joseph Bracken, S.J. is an emeritus professor of theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH.