The Prosperity Gospel is a vein of Christianity that is especially popular in America. It is the theological idea that prayer, trust in God, and tithing will lead to material and worldly success. As Catholics, we know that this is an distortion of the Good News, that God is not an ATM we can access through declarations of faith.
However, as Tommy Tighe recently wrote in an article for Angelus News, it is easy for us to fall into the mindset of the Prosperity Gospel without even realizing it. Tommy stopped by Morning Air® to discuss the trap of a Prosperity Gospel mindset – and how we can recognize and follow the true Gospel of Christ.
“It’s pretty tempting to jump over to that interpretation of the Gospel,” Tommy said. “And when I was reflecting on this, I realized that unwittingly I kind of do fall into the trap – of thinking that good things should happen to me just because I’m trying to follow Jesus.”
“Whenever something happens in my life that’s bad, my first thought is, ‘Wow, God. Why would you let this happen?” he continued. “I’m trying hard, I’m going to Mass, I’m going to Confession, I’m doing all these things. And I think I had to stop and realize that I myself was falling into a version of that Prosperity Gospel.”
Tommy explained that one of the reasons it is so easy to fall into the Prosperity Gospel mindset is because there is a kernel of truth in it. We know that God will give us what we need, but too often we mistake what we need for what we want.
“We think if we’re trying our best that God will take care of us,” he said. “He will take care of us, but not in the worldly way that we think of it. Over and over again, our blessings are disguised in God asking us to keep going, to walk with Him.”
“I think we get wrapped up too much in the things of this world, the things we’re trying to achieve – success at work, a bigger house, a car that plugs in, or any of these kinds of things that make us feel like we’ve ‘made it,’ like we’re successful. As opposed to the way we see the saints blessed through the ages. They honored God and were honored by God after their deaths.”
Tommy pointed out that we can look to the Gospels themselves to find the true Good News. And that while the Good News is indeed good, it doesn’t mean we won’t experience suffering.
“What happened to Jesus when He was here? What happened to Mary?” he asked. “She was the Mother of God, the highest creature ever created, and she was there standing at the foot of the Cross with her heart pierced by a sword. The message is there for us, but the reward that we’re working toward is heaven. Which can be difficult with our shortsightedness on earth.”
So what can we do to remind us of our heavenly reward, rather than expecting God to give us our reward here on earth? “It’s hard to keep your eye on the goal,” Tommy said. “One of our greatest things is having a crucifix around the house, to be able to look up and remind yourself what the goal is. The goal is to be with Jesus, just as Mary was, and hopefully make it to heaven one day. Because that’s what He’s hoping for – that we persevere to the end.”
“He showed us the way to heaven, laying down our lives every single day. And that’s obviously difficult, but He gives us a path. And He gives us a way to renew ourselves through Confession, to keep pushing, to keep trying every single day.”
Read more at Tommy’s article in Angelus News and listen to the full conversation below:
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