Money Makes Us Happy, No?

Not understanding why he was so sad, a rich man went to consult a rabbi. The rabbi just took him by the hand and led him to a window. “Look out there,” he said. The rich man looked into the street. “What do you see?” asked the rabbi. “I see men, women, and children,” answered the rich man.

Again the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. “Now what do you see?” “Now I see myself,” the rich man replied. Then the rabbi said, “In the window and in the mirror there is a glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, but you see only yourself. Do you understand?”

A young man Eads Bridge, came out of the Ozark Mountains, central USA in his early manhood with the firm purpose of making a fortune in gold. Gold became his god, and he managed to make millions. Then the crash came, and he was reduced to utter poverty. His reason reeled and fell along with his fortune. One day a policeman found him gazing down into the waters of the Mississippi. He ordered him to move on. “Let me alone,” he answered, “I’m trying to think. There is something better than gold, but I have forgotten what it is.” They placed him in an institution for the insane. A man, who could forget that, obviously had mental problems!

Many people think money is security, but Saint Paul warns that it can be just the opposite. “For those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction (I Timothy 6,9). When the McGugarts of New York won the Irish Sweepstakes, they were happy. Dad was a steam fitter. Johnny loaded crates on docks. Tim was going to night school. Dad split the millions with his sons. They all claimed openly the money would not change their plans. A year later, the millions were not gone but the family was surely twisted. The boys weren’t speaking to dad or to each other. Johnny was chasing expensive racehorses, Tim was catching up with expensive girls. Mom accused dad of hiding his money from her. Complete havoc! Within two years, all of them were in court for nonpayment of income taxes. “It’s the devil’s own money,” Mom said. Both boys had become alcoholics. They had hoped and prayed for sudden wealth. All had their prayers answered. All were wrecked on a dollar sign.

Someone asked John D. Rockefeller, of all people, “How much wealth does it take to satisfy a person?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.”

Jack Benny, that comedian who always acted the part of a miser, told of the time he was held up. The robber stuck a gun to his back and said, “Your money or your life.” After a long pause the robber repeated his threat to which Benny replied, “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!” Benny may have been kidding but the truth of the matter is this: It really is a matter of your money or your life!

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.