Famously, Jesus is quoted as saying that human beings cannot serve both God and mammon, or wealth. We are not to favor our bank accounts at the expense of God. Jesus’ instructions are generally understood to imply that wealth and faithful living stand in opposition to one another. Either material gain is the ultimate determiner of our actions, or worship of God. One cannot serve both masters.
The New York Times this morning has an interesting article that might suggest otherwise. Universal Music has contracted with Catholic monks in Austria to sell recordings of their chant, and it’s making big money for both the record company and for the monks. These devotional chants have formed the essence of daily worship in the monastic community for perhaps the last seven hundred years. Now they have been recorded and are selling in the top ten albums in Europe, set to debut here in the States next week. According to the article, the success of the chants is part of a massive fascination in secular society with the “otherworldly” monastic lifestyle. The monks see it as a chance for the peace of God to be shared most broadly through music, and the millions that they make on the scene will help with the bills and attract new members to the community.