Baptism: Pomps and vanity
The Prayer Book Catechism refers to the Baptismal promise to renounce not only the Devil and all his works, but also the “pomps and vanity” of the world and all the “sinful lusts of the flesh”. (1)
You can buy most things, if you have the money. But you cannot buy the one thing which people want more than anything else – happiness. You can imagine what a queue there would be if there was a shop here where they were selling happiness.
Happiness is a curious thing. It depends on the kind of person you are rather than on the kind of things you have, and you find it when you are not looking for it. That is where most people go wrong. They think that if only they had money, then they would be happy. They never stop to ask themselves the obvious question, “Are the people with the most money the happiest?” because, of course, they are not.
One of the most joyful and happiest people there has ever been was St Francis of Assisi, and all he possessed in the world was a ragged coat tied round the middle with a piece of old rope which he had picked up off the roadside. And he was so happy that he called himself and his followers “God’s Clowns”. Now St Francis was happy, not because he had nothing, but because all he wanted was God and, having God, he had everything.