450 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
world. They also enable us to adopt a simplicity of life that frees us from
consumerism and helps us preserve God’s creation.
Sinful inclinations move us to envy what others have and lead to an
unrestrained drive to acquire all that we can. We do have a reasonable
need to acquire the means needed to care for our families. Greed is the
distortion of this desire. The greedy person will stop at nothing to get all
the money and possessions possible.
We need to remember that envy is the companion of greed; it is an
attitude that fills us with sadness at the sight of another’s prosperity.
Envious people can be consumed with so much desire for what others
have that they will even commit crimes to get what they want.
Baptized people should counter envy with humility, thanksgiving to
God for his gifts to oneself and to others, goodwill, and surrender to the
providence of God (cf. CCC, no. 2554). “Christ’s faithful ‘have cruci-
fied the flesh with its passions and desires’ (Gal 5:24); they are led by
the Spirit and follow his desires” (CCC, no. 2555). Poverty of heart is a
way to avoid greed and envy. “Abandonment to the providence of the
Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is
a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God” (CCC,
no. 2547, citing Mt 6:25-34).
TO BE A CHRISTIAN STEWARD:
A SUMMARY OF THE U.S. BISHOPS’ PASTORAL
LETTER ON STEWARDSHIP
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as
good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10).
What identifies a steward? Safeguarding material and human
resources and using them responsibly are one answer; so is gen-
erous giving of time, talent, and treasure. But being a Christian
steward means more. As Christian stewards, we receive God’s
gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly
in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.