Monday, November 7, 2011

Devotion for today: envy=number two deadly sin

We continue our look at the seven deadly sins by focusing on the daughter of pride, which is envy.

Scripture for meditation: 1 John 2:10-11
The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother; there is nothing in him to cause a fall. But the man who hates his brother is in darkness. He walks in shadows, not knowing where he is going, since the dark has blinded his eyes.

Christ tells us: Luke 15:21-31
"Meanwhile the elder son was out on the land. As he neared the house on his way home, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked him the reason for the dancing and the music. The servant answered, 'Your brother is home, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back in good health.' The son grew angry at this and would not go in; but his father came out and began to plead with him. He said to his father in reply, 'For years now I have slaved for you. I never disobeyed one of your orders, yet you never gave me so much as a kid goat to celebrate with my friends. Then, when this son of yours returns after having gone through your property with loose women, you kill the fatted calf for him.'"

Fr. Barron tells us in his DVD series, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Lively Virtues:
Thomas Aquinas said, 'Envy is sorrow at another person's good.' Somebody once said, 'When a friend of mine succeeds, something in me dies'....Envy lays hold of me because I don't trust that God has loved me into being and that I've been given a mission and that God wants to live an adventure through me. And so, honors and glory and praise have to come to me. When other people get them, it makes me sad.... What often follows from envy? Scapegoating. What do we do with someone with whom we are envious? We try to undermine them. We blame them, we isolate them...we want to bring them down a peg or two....What's the antidote to envy? What's the lively virtue? Admiration. All of us are here because of a gracious God...period! All the gifts we have, come from God...period! Therefore, why play the game of comparison? Look around and admire what you see in others and, yes, in yourself. What is the practical advice to deal with envy? Go out of your way to praise someone, especially someone of whom you are envious. God has made a world that is radically unequal....Why? Because we all have different missions.... Concentrate on your unique role and don't fuss about others.
(found on the website

Prayer: Give Me, Good Lord
Glorious God, give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to my end without begrudging death, which, to those who die in you, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.

And give me, good Lord, a humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender and pitiful mind, in all my works and all my words and all my thoughts, to have a taste of your holy, blessed Spirit.

Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love of you incomparable above the love of myself.

Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with you, not to avoid the calamities of this world, nor so much to attain the joys of heaven, as simply for love of you,

And give me, good Lord, your love and favour, which my love of you, however great it might be, could not deserve were it not for your great goodness.

These things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me your grace to labour for. St. Thomas More, written a week before his execution. The Uncommon Book of Prayer

My thoughts:  When we actually think about it, envy really is deadly. We are so filled with animosity toward another person that we dream of their failure, or their loss. Much worse than jealousy, which is obsession with what we own (think of the jealous husband who doesn't want anyone looking at his wife, whom he already has), envy causes us to burn in our own hearts over someone's success and robs us of our joy. We do not want to be like the older son in the Gospel story. Instead of rejoicing in the reconciliation which occurs between his brother and father, he is envious of the love his father shows his brother. Fr. Barron would have us fight this fight with our eyes on the beautiful dream God had for us when He formed us in our mother's womb. Not a great singer?  Don't envy someone who is. You were not meant to be one, and he was. Admire his gift, praise him for it, and then spend the rest of your life developing the gifts God gave you. It beats walking in shadows!

Your prayer to God: St. Thomas More prayed that his heart would be filled with peace, charity and tenderness. Search your heart for the one person who causes you to "fume". Place that person in your prayers tonight, and ask God to soften your heart toward him, to extract the envy from your soul, and to place in its stead a thankfulness for who you are. Then ask God to help you see the dream He has for you, and begin to concentrate on the gifts you were given to achieve it.

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