Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love: Lesson 5, question 4

bdv4's picture

4. Augustine states that we should not see alms-giving as "buying off" God. Are there any other practices which we personally do which we see implicitly as "buying off" God? How could we modify our lives to exclude them?

lawrence_dicostanzo's picture

The Marketplace

To be honest, I sometimes feel (unworthily) as if I'm in a marketplace where God is selling me salvation or, at the very least, His approval of me. I think sometimes of "works" in the sense of paying a price --- not once, but over and over. That is, if I do something, like give a dollar to a homeless person, do the dishes, be cheerful with everybody I meet, and so forth, and keep on doing it, God will like me. Duh. This is a very hard attitude to shake.

So, for me, the answer to the question is "There are a million things."

What bothers me is that this attitude is so discourteous to God who shows Himself everyday as such a wonderful Person --- and certainly not as a merchant, for Heaven's sake! The only way to leave off this attitude is to get to know God better through prayer and paying attention. I know deep inside me that He is a rock who loves me. So, I'd have to ask Him sometimes please to forgive me for being so rude.