From the Rector: Capital Sins: Part I

Capital Sins: Part I
Compiled by: Fr. Rene J. Schatteman

 

It seems like we just left the Christmas Season and we realize that Ash Wednesday is less than a month away. I was hoping this article (a three part series) on Capital Sins would help us during the next three weeks to evaluate where in our lives we may need to ask for forgiveness and where we need to pray or work to make improvements in our lives. This gives us time to reflect on how to use the special time of Lent to bring us closer to God.

Capital Sins: Part I
Compiled by: Fr. Rene J. Schatteman

“They are called ‘capital’ because they engender other sins, other vices.

They are: pride, avarice, envy, wrath (anger), lust, gluttony, and sloth.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1866)

It is important and helpful to the spiritual life to consider the capital sins in one’s examination of conscience. They are enemies that we all face each day, many times a day. Among them we often find our  “dominating defect” that weakness which is the biggest obstacle to our sanctification.

Here are a few considerations about each of the capital sins and some remedies that might be applied in the struggle to overcome them.

1. Pride: self-conceit, exaggerated esteem of oneself, together with the tendency to look down on others. As has often been said: “We are born with pride and it leaves us about a half hour after we are dead.” Pride is our greatest enemy. It was the sin of the devil and of man in the beginning. It is the root of many of our daily faults. It takes on many different forms.

The proud person thinks too highly of himself, too often of himself, feels he is better than the others. He is smarter,  stronger, wittier, more attractive, more virtuous and more humble! He is full of himself. He thinks first and only about himself: his accomplishments, his time, his plans, his needs, his desires, his works, etc. He boasts, shows off and draws attention to himself.

He looks down on others, judges them, criticizes them and ridicules them.

Another form of pride: the proud person belittles himself in front of others in order to receive their sympathy and reassurance of his worth.

Under another form the proud person is afraid to speak out or undertake new tasks for fear of making mistakes.
Other forms of pride: pouting when he does not get his way, justifying his mistakes, being overly sensitive, harboring resentments,  envying others, getting angry for no reason, being spiteful, seeking revenge, etc. (cf. St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow,  263)

Remedies: Look to Our Lord who exemplifies humility in all his words and actions: he is born of a humble maiden in humble circumstances, his existence and mission are unknown to the world for 30 years. In his public life he is scorned. In his Passion he is the object of reproach, ridicule, torments and persecution. He tells us: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”(Mt. 11:29)

Look to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary proclaims herself the handmaid of the Lord. During her lifetime, she, the Mother of God and Queen of the world, passes unnoticed.

Steps to take: pray often: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine!
Try to do all for the glory of God, not to be noticed by others, not to praised by others, not to get the credit.

Take advantage of the times you are humbled, or humiliated: offer that to God rather than trying to justify yourself.
Ask God frequently for the grace you need to please him.

Strive to see the good in others, compliment them, praise them and thank them for what they do for you.

Next week we look at avarice, envy and wrath (anger)….

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