The Capital sin of envy that we all
carry within is us due to the effects of Original Sin can literally destroy us
as well as countless others, if it is not recognized, resisted, rejected and
conquered through the grace of God and our own determination! What are some positive steps we can take to
conquer the Capital Sin of envy?
HONEST ADMISSION! If we do not honestly admit and come to terms
with the reality of envy in our hearts then we will never be able to conquer
it. Blindness to defects does not conquer them but exacerbate them! There is a Spanish expression that sums it
up: “No hay peor ciego que aquel que no
quiere ver; no hay peor sordo que aquel que no quiere oir.” (Translation: “There is no worse blind person that he who does
not want to see; there is no worse deaf person than he who does not want to
hear.”) How many alcoholics never admit
their addiction and problem until they die young of alcoholism!
Willfully giving in to envy is a sin. Therefore bringing this sin to the
sacrament of Confession results in healing because the specific sacramental grace
of Confession is the healing of our soul of the moral infirmity of sin.
IGNATIAN “AGERE CONTRA”. This is an Ignatian expression that means:
do not give into it, but do the opposite! Instead of hurting the person you
envy, do him good either by prayer or by action!
PRAY FOR HIM! Once our bad tendencies—especially that of
envy--- is brought to prayer then God can do miracles; He can move the highest mountains
of our pride, anger and our envy! “Let go
and let God!” By ourselves we are the
essence of weakness and misery. However, God is Omnipotent. “All things are possible with God!”
COMPLIMENT/PRAISE! When envy takes root in the heart, the
tendency, with respect to speech is to criticize, gossip, denigrate, and debase
the person. Conquer envy by praising or complimenting him/her on her good
qualities! Do this in his presence or in the presence of others!
Thank God from the bottom of your heart for the wonderful talents that
He has given to all people in this world, but especially the person you envy
most. How dumb anyway to envy! What we are envying is simply a talent that
God has given that has been recognized and cultivated! Why envy God’s gifts!!!
CULTIVATE THE TEAM SPIRIT. On a baseball team, if one player hits a
game-winning home-run, it is not the individual player who won the game, but
the whole team won. When we pray the
Our Father we acknowledge that God is the Father of all of humanity and each
and every one of us in particular. In
concrete that means that we are all brothers and sisters of the same Heavenly
Father. Therefore, your victory is my
victory; your defeat is my defeat! Remember the words of the Apostle St. Paul in
this regard: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep!” St. Therese of Lisieux, famous for her
Little Way of Perfection by doing the ordinary things with extraordinary love
said that when evil is done the whole world descends. However, when good is
done the whole world is elevated closer to heaven! Why not rejoice in others’ spiritual victories? Earth has been elevated closer to heaven!
SELF-KNOLWEDGE OF YOUR OWN
TALENTS. A very telling Parable is
found in the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew. Three men are given talents. Two of them
double the talents with hard work. The last, due to fear and laziness, digs a
hole and buries the talent under the ground.
Upon returning, the Master does a rendition of counts. The first two
hard-working and faithful servants are praised and awarded for their
dedication. However, the lazy servant who hid his talent underneath the ground
was chastised! All of us have talents!
Art, music, sports, study, communication, painting, writing, cooking, prayer, spirituality--- all of these are
God-given talents. They can be cultivated and prosper and be of use in
cultivating the “Civilization of Love” or they can lay fallow, rust, deteriorate
and decay. Incumbent upon all indeed it is that we discover our specific
talents and then cultivate them to the maximum.
By doing this we will not be focusing upon the talents and success of
our “rival” and allow envy to possess and conquer us! In the famous story of the Juggler of
Notre Dame, a young man enters into the convent and unable to study well nor
arrive at sublime mystical gifts, he felt at first bereft of talents. But he
could do one thing: juggle! So before
the image of Our Lady he would do his juggling stunts in a silent and hidden way. Our Lady, seeing
this performance smiled profusely! This
was the gift he could offer to God and to His Blessed Mother. What type of
juggling act can you do for God to avoid focusing on others’ talents and
succumbing to envy?
THANKSGIVING LIST OF ST. JOHN
BERCHMANS, S.J. In the life of the
young Jesuit, St. John Berchmans, S.J, an incident is recorded, pertinent to
our topic of conquering and crushing the ugly head of the devil of envy. John
lived in a community with both brothers as well as priests. Imbued with an authentic spirit of charity,
Berchmans was keenly aware of the talents and gifts that God had bestowed upon
every one of the members. Therefore, John Berchmans wrote a list of all of the
members in the Jesuit Community. Then next to each and every one of the members
he wrote a virtue or positive attribute and then composed a litany of
thanksgiving to God for that virtue. One qualifying note! There was only one person that was not on
that list. Can you guess who he was? Why not list your family members and next
to each one write a positive attribute and thank God for that gift! Great way
to conquer envy!
MAGNIFICAT! Turn to Mary and pray to her
when tempted to fall into envy. Say a quick Hail Mary when tempted to be
jealous! Be thankful and praise God with Mary’s hymn of praise. “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit
rejoices in God my Savior..”