How should we live?

I’m having a problem and I am posting it in Spirituality because my question pertains to the spiritual life: do possessions hinder us spiritually?

I’m very attracted to the vow of poverty because, at least in my mind, it means seek everything in God and emptying myself of all attachments in this world. But I live and work in the world which has meant buying a car. I wanted a reliable, good car since I’ll most likely be working for awhile. My car cost $30,000 of which I owe $24,000 still. Sometimes I feel bad about that like I shouldn’t own it, like I won’t be able to be as holy with it…

Is it bad to buy things? Do things hinder our spiritual life? Do they limit our love of God? It seems like some spiritual Fathers and Mothers have said we need to detach from all things in order to love God alone.

Pax Christi tecum.

It is important to detach ourselves from worldly things but it does not mean we should live without life’s necessities.

In your example, a dependable car is important and there is nothing wrong to own a car that is needed.

While we are whole heartedly following Christ, be careful not to fall into the trap of extreme. Balance is the key. Hope this helps.

Yes it does. What about other things we enjoy but aren’t necessities? For example I bought a HD television and PS3 because I have fun playing the games and watching movies but I wonder if that can be detrimental…

Pax Christi tecum.

Only if we attach too much importance to them. I have a penchant for fine and expensive home decor and sacramentals (statues and such) and I know there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But, if I obsess over it, if i’m not a good steward with my finances, and if i begin to define myself and others by what I/they do or don’t have, then it becomes a problem. And sometimes the best way to remove such obstacles is not to have them. But not everyone is called to material poverty. I would pray to discern how Our Lord wants you to live out the poverty of spirit and if you haven’t already, bring the issue to your spiritual director. God bless!

That is a good question. Since we are not living in a cloister, we all unavoidably own many things. We also have to accommodate our children’s and other family member’s needs and desires.

I think the key point is to truly put God first and live a generous and faithful Gospel life. Even if we don’t own anything and live in a shack, if we don’t apply Gospel teachings to our lives, owning nothing does not mean anything. Don’t you think?

As for material purchasing, the principle of balance always applies. If one has close communion with God, the Holy Spirit will let him know if a decision is conscientious or not.

Yes and I’ve also heard that a person living in poverty could be more greedy that someone who is not in poverty since the issue is in the heart and the will.

Pax Christi tecum.

Yes and I’ve also heard that a person living in poverty could be more greedy that someone who is not in poverty since the issue is in the heart and the will.

I agree. I know a man who is rich, he has an expensive home, expensive cars and very nice furnishings. He works hard, even though he really doesn’t need to. He is a very happy, very charitable man and would be so if he was poor. He owns his things, he isn’t owned by them.

It’s not what we have, it’s how we use what we have.

didn’t we just discuss this when you posted the same question on the morality forum? please follow forum rules, including that on multiple posting, you will get a lot more benefit in your time here.

Actually my question here is about how owning such things impacts one’s spiritual life…

Pax Christi tecum.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit