A fresh new year is ahead of us and each of us has our own resolutions to make.. resolutions that could be thrilling enough since we all just love a challenge. I for one has shared to my readers what resolution ill have this year, its actually my very first post in this blog a few weeks ago. But besides from the resolutions we want to make.. we are still somehow predisposed to other new bad habits and deeds that could be candidates for next year’s resolution. WE are all good in nature yet sometimes its hard to keep the halo on top of our head at all times. We constantly yearn to be good in such a challenging world that deliberately pushes our buttons that we find ourselves overwhelmed with what’s surrounding us and sometimes, could even break whatever belief that we have over the good in other people.
Then there will always be those principles that guides us to at least try not to do wrong to others. From the experiences we’ve had that has taught us, or from some context in a book that we have read, down to the things we observe with other people that we sure wish could never happen to us. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the seven deadly sins, it has been taught to us when we are young so as to stop us from beating up our classmates, or squeezing the chocolate drink box of the ones that doesn’t want to give us a tiny sip from the straw.. well the last part was from my childhood naughty deeds, i could still vividly remember the look on my friend’s face when she was all covered in liquid chocolate after it came spurting out from the straw as I squeezed the box really hard, the girl wont give me a sip from her’s that’s why. Not really something to be proud of that’s for sure. Yet somehow we always thought that these seven things are all we need to refrain from doing to save our asses. What we fail to understand is that these are just origins of other sins. That from these seven sins.. could sprout some pretty shady deeds that we inevitably do in our everyday lives.
“Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all” – Joseph Epstein
Envy will always begin as just a simple thought. Its okay to yearn for something that another has, its sadly a part of human nature as connected to satisfaction. But when the time comes that we feel resentment over something we don’t have while others has them.. then that’s enough to open a window envy is looking for to gain access inside of you.
If you have a rule that says “If I cant have it, then nobody will”, then you have a big problem. Whether it might be someone’s promotion to a job, a smoother skin, or something a simple as someone having an Hermés birkin bag while walking down the street with a jaw dropping hunk, well.. i guess you just need to work a lot harder. The truth of the matter is, even though some had it easy while the rest of us needs to take it up a notch to work harder to have what we want, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their lives are better than us, a little different but not better. So try not to entertain envious thoughts. Neither should we express some form of pleasure when we see someone dealing with far more difficult ordeals than we have.
The character C.C Babcock from the comedy show The Nanny once said: “Whenever I feel down, I just simply think about my friends who never had an easy life and just how much they struggle with their lives.. and then I go visit them”. Its humorous yes but then again.. not exactly the most virtuous.
Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically “Neither shall you desire… anything that belongs to your neighbour”. In Dante’s Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. Aquinas described envy as “sorrow for another’s good”. So what do we need to counter Envy?.. A good sense of Kindness.
So you’re walking down a street when suddenly this big hulking guy suddenly bumps on you’re shoulder with his so hard that you almost lost your balance as if you’re invisible and somehow hasn’t even bothered to look back at you to apologize, BAM! you look at him as he walks away from you, your ears suddenly gets warm and suddenly you find yourself helpless and cursing. Anger is a common situation that could inevitably occur everyday. Whether it could be in an instant or something that we’ve been carrying around for quite some time inside of us, boiling slowly to become hatred, then anger and voila, you feel like you need to hit something or find a pillow to smother your face with as you yell your lungs out. Those thoughts can be still considered healthy. Until… you start manifesting it by getting a little bit violent, that’s when wrath comes in. Its when you let yourself get consumed with that hot rod of emotions churning inside of you.
The problem with anger is that it grows if we lose control of it. In its purest form, provokes self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may result to feuds that can go on for centuries. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience and revenge.
Its when we are consumed over the fact that we know better. We feel like we have been done wrong and we seek justice from it, only that is mixed with revenge and spite. In its original form, the sin of wrath also encompassed anger pointed internally and externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, tragic expression of wrath directed inwardly, a final rejection of God’s gifts, while external expression of wrath could result to causing physical harm to others, violence that could also lead to more grievous act such as murder.
What we need to remind ourselves that we are the master of our own intellectual and emotional domain. That we shouldn’t let anger get the better out of us. Instead of constantly berating ourselves on how mistreated we’ve been, try to reason out what could be the reason behind it. To see the bigger picture of things, since anger could easily narrow down our field of reasoning. To breathe deeply and analyze the situation with rationality. Patience is the perfect virtue to give us a clearer view of what is in front of us.
The media today somehow has this blatant agenda of telling us what should be perceived as beautiful. Whether it could be the latest trend that anorexia is the new black, or could be widely different with each country, some country like mine sees that having a fair skin is something much preferred while in the United States, an olive toned, much darker skin is perceived as beautiful. But whatever preference we have, our difference is what makes us human and unique from each other. But when we start comparing ourselves to be far more superior to some, Vanity will definitely come knocking down your door. Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others.
While some suffer from lack of self esteem, some has enough that it can be used as an energy source for a nuclear plant to power up China. Pride is the insufferable twin of Vanity. These two are considered to be impenetrable. In the movie The Devil’s Advocate, Satan expresses that among all the sins, vanity was his favorite. Simply because it is the easiest window that could leave us vulnerable to sin. We all are guilty of sometimes committing this act. When we feel like we are better than others or when we constantly yearn to be the best in everything. I for one do this as well, some of us aren’t even aware that we are already doing it. That is just how strongly pride can get a hold of us.
I have this friend in Facebook, this guy is indeed gifted with the looks and somehow what sets me off are the things he posts in his wall, he is always so vocal in posting situations where his looks are praised. In one of his posts he typed in: “I was at the gym one time when this girl asked me to take my picture, she said she only brought her SLR camera just to capture how good looking I am”, then there’s this other post. “I was at the grocery last week when two girls almost had an argument on who will be putting my groceries in the plastic bag”. It is sad to say that some people can be really THAT annoyingly vain. There’s this one time when I just couldn’t control myself from all the self loving posts this guy has been typing that I commented: “When someone sings his own praises, he always gets the tune too high”. Surprisingly many of his friends marked my comment as “Like”. So i guess I’m not the only one out there.
If we see ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else’s pride really bothers you, then chances are, you have a lot of pride.
The neglect to take care of something that one should do, apathetic listlessness, depression without joy are some that defines Sloth. It is similar to melancholy, when we cant seem to decide on what to do first that we end up just giving up from exhaustion and not doing a single thing about it. Being at war with ourselves will always be present, as long as we choose just one instead of not choosing anything at all and letting things ride and hope that whatever comes will just do. We all deserve some form of R and R (rest and relaxation) against the constant demands of what the society expects of us. Yet as with everything, balance and moderation is the key.
And I’m not just talking about the physical act of laziness. Sloth comes in many varieties, when we choose not to help others because it will be way too bothersome on our part, or when just refuse to use and hone the God given abilities that we have. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a wilful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created. We should always make sure to live about productively with each day that we live, to learn from the most simplest of experiences and to refrain from constantly being slack and resigned when faced with big issues to deal with or huge crisis to attend to. In trying times, our favorite phrase “bahala na” cannot help but be uttered like a silent prayer that things will get better and leave everything to chance, hence, no one will do their best to accomplish just that.
“The more we are filled with thoughts of lust the less we find true romantic love” -Douglas Horton-
Oh yes, the big Kahuna of all sins. Although its not for everyone yet some are convinced that it is innate in all of us. Lust is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature, while an excessive love of others also goes within the definition of lust. This is very different from love in ways that it is more known to be an overwhelming feel of infatuation over someone. At one point or another, we have experienced this most seductive of all sins. Even some forms of media feeds off into tapping this bad ass of sin. From what we have observed, nowadays it is much more interesting when it has that touch on sensuality in it. People are bound to be intrigued when this element comes around, whether it may be from a commercial, to movies, to scandals and even to the latest news when some famous personality is caught with pictures or videos doing the deed. Just when its supposed to be a private matter, once it goes public, its bound to be horded by the curious. Sex sells is what they all say. Countless advertisements uses sensuality as a main ingredient as we see these half naked men and women posing in billboards in all its 20 feet of glory.
It is also the sin that is mostly condemned by the Church. Fornication has always been a serious offense since the beginning of time. It is with no doubt that lust has always been accompanied by trouble. I guess what makes this sin the most fascinating and hard to resist is the fact that something so mysterious and taboo is sure to further ravage that burning curiosity to know or see more. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power, or image can be used well, but they tend to go out of control.
In Dante’s Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings. In Dante’s “Inferno”, unforgiven souls of the sin of lust are blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self control to their lustful passions in earthly life. Lets just hope these aren’t what is awaiting in the afterlife but just to be sure, it would be better to practice the virtue of chastity and self control.
I once told my sister, “If only we could eat without gaining a single pound and the with no risk of developing some health complication, then that would really be something”. Yet the fact that our body is just not made that way, must have some pretty good reasons behind it. I guess if we still eat considerable amount of food at every given point in time, chances are we are bound to end up as weight challenged individuals with heart conditions. But are those reasons enough to make us fear to over indulge? We are not causing harm to anyone, and its definitely nobody’s business when nobody seems to be affected by it. So how could it be a sin?
Gluttony is referred to as over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. We are all In the Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, or its withholding from the needy. So I guess its focusing more on our awareness that some who are less blessed are deprived to eat three decent square meals a day and somehow we should take it as a fact to value what we have in front of us and not to over-indulge. But of course gluttony isn’t just associated with just consuming food. That it could be connected with lust in which we spoil ourselves in unhealthy ways to the point that its already unnecessary to continuously indulge on a certain act. An act that could lead to something else far more grievous than to what it already is.
Depending on the culture, it can be seen as either a vice or a sign of status. Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be something to take pride in. But in an area where food is routinely plentiful, it may be considered a sign of self-control to resist the temptation to over-indulge. So what better ways to avoid over indulgence than to practice temperance as it accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. This does not pertain only to food, but also to entertainment and other legitimate goods…and even the company of others.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” -Mahatma Gandhi-
Personally i see greed as the big bad wolf of all things evil. History has witnessed to what an amount of greed could do. Greed like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed as seen by the church is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. Majority of the world’s crimes against humanity and against nature itself usually roots from greed. Many have suffered so that some can prosper.
Satisfaction has always been man’s weakest attribute. Everything has got to start somewhere. All of us wants something and from that yearning we strive hard to get there. WE all know that feeling once we finally have something we want. It has that overwhelming effect in us that somehow quenches that yearning we have. WE all just love that feeling, whether it may be something material or as substantial as a promotion to a job or when we finally get that validation we’ve always wanted. If only we can have some more of those feelings everyday, but life doesn’t work that way, and we should also know by now why we cant have everything. But this is not how the greedy mind works.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.”
In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. “Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior.
Greed also emanates from personal gain, these include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. The list goes on and on. Its what some people are prepared to do in able to survive and to get through with the troubles they have started with. So what can we do to free ourselves from the grasp of greed, well, temperance and charity are some that could really help us against the deed.