Why the Seven Deadly Sins are Deadly: Greed & Envy
Holding hands with greed is her ugly sister Envy.
In our modern world it seems downright medieval to talk about the seven deadly sins. It doesn't matter if something comes from the middle ages or the prehistoric age. If it's true its true in every age, and the seven deadly sins are a pretty good summary of what's wrong with the world because they're a good summary of what's wrong with me and you. For Lent this column will zip through the seven deadly sins and see how they're killing our culture.
GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - In our modern world it seems downright medieval to talk about the seven deadly sins. It doesn't matter if something comes from the middle ages or the prehistoric age. If it's true its true in every age, and the seven deadly sins are a pretty good summary of what's wrong with the world because they're a good summary of what's wrong with me and you. For Lent this column will zip through the seven deadly sins and see how they're killing our culture.
In the middle of the worst financial crisis in a century, people are pointing the finger of blame. It's the bankers' fault. It's the government's fault. It's the insurance companies, the building industry, the mortgage industry, the European Community, the Americans, the British, the Chinese, the Russians.
Why are we in such a financial mess? Because people were greedy. All of us were greedy and the bonus grabbing, money grubbing men in suits are only symbols of the envy and greed that has driven our whole society.
Why were people who were earning hundreds of thousands of pounds grabbing bonuses of several million? Because they, along with most people in our secular society, were simply worshipping the fat little god called Mammon, and the liturgy they follow is the motto of the Wall Street film character Gordon Gecko who said, "Greed is good."
Greed is not good. Greed is bad, and it is not only bad, it's deadly. It's deadly because it kills. It kills charity. How can you be generous towards others if all you do is seek more and more and more money for yourself?
How can you be concerned for the welfare of others if all you live for is the bottom line, undercutting the competition, using people as pawns and grabbing all the loot you can as fast as you can? When a whole society gives in to greed the whole society becomes a violent jungle where only the strong survive.
Holding hands with greed is her ugly sister Envy. Envy is not deadly with the violent rapacity of greed, but with a kind of slow poison that contaminates the soul. When we envy other people it eats away at us. We become discontented and angry, and that inner burning soon turns towards getting what we want at whatever cost. Envy is a deadly sin because it kills gratitude. It kills contentment. It kills happiness, and eventually, like greed, it kills the gift of charity in the soul.
G.K.Chesterton once said, 'Every argument is a theological argument.' He's right. Beneath every human crisis there is a moral crisis and beneath the moral crisis is a crisis of belief. People are greedy because they're not godly. When a society forgets God almighty they start to worship the Almighty dollar (or Euro or Pound) It's logical: if you don't believe in God and heaven and hell, then why bother with morality?
If you believe this material world is the only world you're ever going to live in, then why not get as much of this world's riches as possible? If you're going to die in a few short years and you believe that's then end, then it makes sense to grab as much as you fan as quickly as you can. Atheism makes people behave like greedy children in a candy shop--grabbing as much candy as possible and shoving it in their mouths until they're sick.
The financial wizards may come up with a package to bail out our economy, but no matter what they do it will be a band aid on cancer. The real problems in our society are much more profound and will take far longer to cure, and the therapy will be just as painful as the problem.
The therapy, of course, is repentance, renunciation and conversion of life. It is a therapy that is impossible to implement from the top down. It can only be accomplished one soul at a time, and the only soul I can put through that therapy is my own.
Fr Dwight Longenecker is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He is a prolific author, blogger and sought after speaker. Visit his website and blog at dwightlongenecker.com
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Seven Deadly Sins, Greed, Envy, materialism, conversion, renunciation, Fr Dwight Longenecker
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
- The Surprise of Easter
- Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis: Let the Risen Jesus Enter Your Life
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- The Resurrecting Power of Mercy
- On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Reflection: Let us Apply the Splint of the Cross to our Fractured Freedom
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2013
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 4/1/2013
Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, He´s so heavenly he is no earthly good. I suggest again that it misses the mark completely. We are Easter people. We are called to ...Continue Reading
Fr. Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
To make sure that all mankind knows that it is not over but actually just beginning, God has an Easter bombshell. While we may have been able to anticipate the wondrous joy of a day of resurrection, ...Continue Reading
Pope Francis - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »