I would like to offer a meditation in Counterpoint to Griff Ruby's "A Meditation About Money" - the Four Marks, December 2012.

Mr. Ruby says that "in a perfect society, each person is paid in proportion to the value of the work they do." But the value of any work is completely relative to the kind of society in which one must work. However, there is also an absolute scale of values reflecting the degree of being each one possesses. A plant possesses a degree or grade of perfection bestowed upon the intrinsic nature of its plantness. The same with animals. A plant never covets the higher degree of being.... in an animal. The plant is perfectly happy being a plant - from lowly violet to soaring redwood. The same with animals. No animal covets the higher perfection in being a man. Your dog is too happy just being your "best friend"...to covet even your intellect!   I challenge any human being to admit he envies the angels. Are we not perfectly happy with our composite nature despite the consequences of Original Sin, disease and death! St. Thomas asserts we will not be perfectly happy after death in heaven until we get our bodies back at the general resurrection - so wedded, so intimately united is this composite of body and soul.

How does all this relate to work? In this way. Given the hierarchical diversity amongst human beings, reflecting the general grades of perfection (see the 4th way of St. Thomas for proving God's existence) - given the inequality of talents amongst human beings, not to mention men and women, a person's work ought to correspond to that kind of work for which he is most fitted by his individual nature. Because the value of his work - being the quality of its goodness, or excellence, will correspond to the kind of work he most loves to do, because it is what he was made to do, so to speak, or what he was born to do. The popular EWTN Irish singer, Dana, has a song that repeats "I must sing!" It is wonderful that she apparently can make a living doing what she loves to do! (Although one would hope that as a woman, her first vocation was to wife and motherhood.)

In ancient Greek society, the philosopher, the lover of wisdom, was so highly esteemed that the state supported such men and assured their livelihood. Much the same was true in the middle ages when the intellectual life was most highly esteemed and masters of their schools were assured a livelihood. But came the industrial revolution and the agrarian society was disrupted. Although it is the lowliest kind of work, farming is also the most necessary. Note that Adam and his descendants all cultivated the land and their society remained agrarian, even while some sought wisdom as doctors of thinking and contemplation.  It was the urban Canaanites who provoked the flood! Perhaps the most striking example of reflection in our personal lives of this hierarchy of being that is reality, is the fact that the Church has always graded the states of life accordingly. The priesthod for men and religious; conventual life for women are intrinsically higher than the married state. Similarly, the cloistered, contemplative, monastic life is higher than an active life for religious. I remember being taught at some time by someone that there is no such thing as a "single" state of life. Persons living in the world and not married, must live chastely, obey a spiritual director and for their salvation's sake, avoid "worldliness". In other words, they must follow the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.

All this relates essentially to the value of the work people do. When I worked as a nurse's aide in a big hospital, I soon discovered that such work for me was emotionally exhausting. I was not encouraged to continue. Did I get paid well? Yes, for a time, but what was the real value of my work? I did much better as a teacher in a homeschool, and even better in retirement with freedom to study and write. This tells you plainly enough, the relation of money to the value of the work. Nil. I received very little, indeed, as a teacher and have lived solely on social security supplement since. I did work for some years as a librarian, giving me a basis for my social security. Go figure.

In conclusion, and with all due respect, I found Griff Ruby's article on money a bit like trying to work one's way out and up from the bottom of a landfill. I guess all of the elements are there, but they are scarcely discernible. It is embarrassing to see Father Oswald speak of idles, when he obviously means idols. To such dumbed-down depths has traditional - intellectual life sunk? Is it too much to ask that Mr. Ruby give some sources for his meditation? I have referred to St. Thomas' Summa, ST,I, Q.2, a.3. Is a "meditation" a license for free-thinking? John Lane's scholarship is quite a contrast with this essay by Griff Ruby, but John Lane is evasive. Incidentally, I read the magazine Culture Wars and recommend it as offering the beginning of an education in theories of government, economics and the current chaos. E. Michael Jones always documents his facts and lists his sources. He has gone far towards covering the landfill with a village based on distributist economics. The Remnant's star writer is Christopher Ferrera. If editor Michael Matt would only let Dr. Fog go and give Brian Cahill more space. John Vennari needs to use the principles of Dr. Raphael Waters in more concrete applications such as the current runaway biological species and the evolutionists' abuse of language. By species they really mean variety within the immutable, substantial form or kind created by God on the literal Days of Creation Week. See a recent article in the New Oxford Review. Also send comments to Jake Tannenbaum at ScientificAmerican.com/jan 2013 about his article "Creation, Evolution and Indisputable Facts." Contrary to what Mr. Tannenbaum asserts, a literal interpretation of Genesis can be reconciled with real science. See this writer's Catholic Creation Cosmology Blog!

We need more communication between Catholic periodicals and their writers. I welcome corrections as well as comments. I write from a nursing home without access to my library and sorely need an editor. There was great communication among Catholic writers in the 19th and early 20th centuries - and across continents! Can't we revive some of that? It was an age of Polemic and had an impact on the whole Church. A united front on the part of traditionalists, especially concerning the sciences and their impact on the education of children, could certainly go far towards influencing the Home Schoolers, at least. It might even influence a bishop or two!