Monday, February 05, 2018

What Is Needful

When Aquinas and Augustine discuss "the needs of this life," whether in the context of food or money, they emphasize not just what is necessary for bare subsistence, but also what is necessary for living a life "becoming" or appropriate to human beings. The point is not to live on crusts of bread with bare walls and threadbare clothes. The point is that a fully human life is lived in a way free from being enslaved to our stuff. Our possessions are meant to serve our needs and our humanness, rather than our lives being centered around service to our possessions and our desires for them. What is "needful," even in this more expansive sense, is meant to be a limiting rule, so that our acquisitiveness does not expand without any bounds.

[Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Glittering Vices, Brazos (Grand Rapids, MI: 2009) p. 106.]

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