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The world has been abuzz this last week over Pope Francis’ bold sermon on the destructive role money plays in the life of the Roman Catholic Church and in the world. Those that pray* are lifting up conflicting prayers*: some that he continues in this direction and makes an intentional and significant effort to have the Church address the issue in theology and praxis; others that he is speaking idealistically and the status quo of privilege and power that comes with wealth will not be significantly challenged.
    While the battle for the nation’s hearts and souls over the ACA continues, and a majority in the House of Representatives determines that food should be optional for the poorest among us, this conversation about money and the lack or presence of it, will and should continue in our homes, our towns, our states, and our nation. There will be a great deal of noise, conflicting Scriptures, the furious sounds of those striving for righteousness as it is understood. But what of the noise in ourselves?

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.

Look for a moment at your hands. Most of us have four fingers and a thumb that wiggle and flex.

Martin Luther, a reforming sort who probably would be cautiously optimistic about Pope Francis, once said that God made humans with divided fingers so that money could slip through. This would most certainly explain my bank balance. Not only does such a vision reflect a care for a world of manifold needs, but also provides a vision of living free from any enslaving power of money.
    But what about that thumb-that evolutionary gift that enables us to cling like mad bastards to whatever we get our hands on?
If our hands were designed to allow money to slip through like water, they are also designed to grasp and cling to money like oatmeal that’s been sitting in the bowl on the counter for six hours.
    The hand presents the perfect picture of the challenges and privileges to relating to money. Perhaps, to be human in the best sense, we are able to release some things on purpose-to release what has become too much for the needs of others, thereby fulfilling a need for ourselves to let enough be enough.
    And yet, deep inside, where dwell my joys and my fears, is this nagging sense that I do not have enough, the dread of wondering what will happen if I find myself without enough, and the annoying, niggling sensation that I may have more than enough and just can’t find it in the mess on my kitchen table. Without loving money, I am nevertheless in thrall to its power. And it concerns me, as it concerns most people, not just in the everyday struggle of needing enough and not always having it, but in the soul places, from whence comes my prayer* and wherein grows my trust, that I may not have “enough.”
    And this brings me to being a spiritual parvenu.
St. John of the Cross says that “every quality or virtue which that Spirit really produces in our souls has three distinguishing characteristics…Tranquility, Gentleness, and Strength….Fuss and feverishness, anxiety, intensity, intolerance, instability, pessimism and wobble, and every kind of hurry and worry-these, even on the highest levels, are signs of the self made and self acting soul; the spiritual parvenu.” From The Spiritual Life, by Evelyn Underhill
    There is, I think, a longing in everyone for enough to be enough, which constantly battles the fear that the world brings that enough is never enough. These hands of mine….do they have the strength to relax and let go of what needs to be released; do they have the gentleness to hold without harm what needs to be held; do they listen to a soul striving for tranquility to be wholly in the moment of release or grip?
    Pope Francis speaks to a hunger that has long been set aside so that we may be full of what does not fulfill. I wish him all the best with this task he has undertaken. And I wish us all the best in shutting out what the world demands so that we may give what the world needs.

Peace be with you.

Pastor Heather

Originally posted to left rev on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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