Struggles with Greed

St. Paul calls greed the “root of all evil.” It is natural to desire earthly goods and money in order to live well, but greed takes this desire to an immoderate level, making goods and money into gods.

What is greed (also known as avarice)?

Greed, or avarice, is the disordered love of riches or earthly goods. Money and possessions take an improper role in the life of a greedy person. The greedy person likely sees earthly goods and wealth not as instruments, but as ends in themselves.

Living with greed

Living with greed reorients our priorities in a backward way. It may cause us to hoard money or be overly concerned with growing in wealth, care too much about the quality and quantity of our possessions (perhaps always wanting the newest gadget or clothing line, etc.), and make us not want to share our wealth with those in need. But there is good news. Through prayer and some hard work, you can free yourself from the heavy burdens that greed brings and the damage it can cause to you and your relationship with God. You can treat your greed by working on the virtue that helps temper our greed: generosity. 

What do the experts say?

“Jesus spoke more about avarice than about any other sin…He scandalized his disciples with many hard sayings about detachment from worldly goods and about how hard it would be for a rich man to enter his Kingdom.” –Dr. Peter Kreeft

“For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” –1 Timothy 6:10

“Riches prick us with a thousand troubles in getting them, as many cares in preserving them, and yet more anxiety in spending them, and with grief in losing them.” –St. Francis of Assisi

How do I treat my greed?

By cultivating its opposing virtue: generosity, liberality.