This new outlook on life begins with our view of material things. How do we affect them and how do we let them affect us? In other words, do we control them or do they control us?
We have to learn how to do the following:
– to affirm material things
– to use material things
– to appreciate material things
– and to become holy through material things
How does this compare to our brothers and sisters in the monasteries?
Let’s look first at some wrong views of the material world. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 285), we find an explanation of the varying views of the material world as defined throughout the history of the Church. Some philosophers claimed that the entire world is God and that development of the world is the development of God. That’s Pantheism. Others believe that the world is locked in permanent conflict between two eternal principles: Good and Evil, and Light and Darkness. That’s Dualism or Manichaeism. The Gnostics believe that the physical world is evil, a product of a fall, and must be rejected or left behind. Some would say that God made the world but then abandoned it to fend for itself. That’s Deism. We aren’t Pantheists, Dualists, Gnostics, or Deists. We are Catholics, and therefore we strive to live the Catholic view of the material world.
Now let’s go back to our discussion of living monastic piety as married couples.
“People in monasteries should be removed from the world as much as possible, and we must go into the world. We must deal with material things. As lay people we were not created to run away from earthly things. Yes, we even have to learn anew to love material things, to love also money and possessions, to love the beauty of human nature, or to love the arts and sciences. We must deal with these things.” Father Kentenich told the couples.
This might sound a bit materialistic at first, but we have to understand that the world around us is part of God’s creation and for that reason we must love it, but we must love it correctly. What’s more, we must teach others to use material things correctly.
How do we do this? We show through our being how we can love the world. Think about all of the new technology that has been introduced to us during the last few decades. As modern laypeople in the world, we can’t avoid them but we can learn to reach God through them.