Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Disguised Greed is not Sacrifice

“We have to recognize that a spirit of individualism and confusion has reduced us to an ethic of ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This ethic, unfortunately sometimes consecrated by Christian formulas, is nothing but the secular ethic of the affluent society, based on the false assumption that if everyone is bent on making money for himself the common good will automatically follow, due to the operation of economic laws.

An ethic of barely disguised selfishness is no longer a Christian ethic. Nor can we afford to raise this to the national level and assume that the world will adjust itself if every nation seeks its own advantage before everything else. On the contrary, we are obliged to widen our horizons and to recognize our responsibility to build an international community in which the right of all nations and other groups will be respected and guaranteed. We cannot expect a peaceful world society to emerge all by itself from the turmoil of a ruthless power struggle – we have to work, sacrifice and cooperate to lay the foundations on which future generations may build a stable and peaceful international community. Every Christian is involved in this task, and consequently every Christian is obliged to seek information and form his conscience so that he may be able to contribute his own share of intelligent political action toward this end.”

From Peace in the Post-Christian Era, by Thomas Merton. Orbis Books

This yoga has two divisions of sacrificial actions: one is called sacrifice of one's material possessions, and the other is called knowledge of self, which is pure spiritual activity. If sacrifice of one's material possessions is not dovetailed for spiritual realization, then such sacrifice becomes material. But one who performs such sacrifices with a spiritual objective, or in devotional service, makes a perfect sacrifice.

Bg 4.42


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