“Envy is the only evil quality that charity cannot overcome” August 12, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, horror, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
I found this catechesis on the deadly sin of envy from the 19th century Spirago-Clarke catechism very powerful. Not much explanation is needed for the below:
He who does not desire the good of his neighbor, but is envious of him, does not possess the love of his neighbor.
We call a man envious who merely through ill-will is vexed at the prosperity of another, or rejoices when misfortune overtakes him.
The envious man cannot bear the good fortune of another, and consequently he seeks by word and work to do him harm……Our vexation or pleasure may arise from the love of God or of our neighbor, in which case it is not blameworthy; for example, if a man is grieved because one who is an enemy to the Church is raised to a position of influence, or because great prosperity attends to a sinner who will employ his good fortune to sin the more……..The height of envy is to grudge another the gifts of divine grace, and progress in virtue. This is one of the sins against the Holy Ghost. [Which can so corrode a soul as to make repentance all but impossible and thus, forgiveness] The high priests were jealous of Christ when they saw that He worked many miracles; they therefore determined to compass His death (Jn xi:47). The devils feel this kind of envy; they are furious when they see the elect advancing towards perfection and at once assail them with persecutions.
No sin renders man so much like the devil as envy, for envy is peculiarly the devil’s sin.
The envious man is an imitator of the devil, for by the envy of the devil death came into the world (Wis ii:24). Just as Christ says: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples if you love one another”: (Jn xii:35), so on the other hand the devil can say: “By this shall all men know that you are my followers, if you envy one another as I have envied you” (St. Vincent Ferrer). The jealous man wishes to see nothing but misery around him. There is more malice in this sin than in any other. For all other sins and vices there is some pretext which a man may plead in his excuse; the excuse for intemperance is hunger, for revenge, the wrong he has received, for theft, extreme poverty, etc…but for envy no plea can be alleged……Moreover envy is the only evil quality which charity cannot overcome. One who is an enemy to you, or enraged against you, may be appeased by kindness, but the envious, never. Among all sins, envy is the only one that affords no gratification to those who indulge it; the intemperate, the avaricious, the choleric, seem to gain something by yielding to their passions, but envy is sterile.
Envy is most hurtful to man; it robs him of inward content and bodily health; it leads to many cruel actions and finally to eternal perdition.
Envy eats the heart to which it gains admission; it harasses the mind, destroys peace of conscience, banishes gladness from the soul and fills it with despondency and sadness. When once it is firmly rooted within the soul, its presence becomes apparent outwardly……..As rust corrodes iron, so envy eats into the soul that harbors it. It brings its own punishment, for it frets away and destroys the individual who cherishes it. Envy leads to many acts of cruelty……..The envious man hates to see the benefits God bestows on others. Envy excludes from Heaven; it is a sure pledge of eternal damnation. Through envy the angels fell from Heaven, and man was driven out of paradise. If we are bound even to love our enemies, how great will be our punishment if we pursue with our envy those who could never have wronged us! (St. John Chrysostom).
The best means of overcoming feelings of envy is to do all the good we possibly can for our fellow-men.
In order to thrust the monster of envy out of the heart………only the panoply of love is needed. Do all the good you can to the person whom you envy; at least pray for him, that his happiness may be increased. Thus you will banish the demon from your heart; you will thereby deserve a twofold crown; the one for your victory over envy, the other for the charitable deed you you have performed (St. John Chrysostom). Consider how short lived is all here below……..It will not matter after death what have been your possessions, what high offices you have filled; your future happiness will entirely depend upon your good works. If you will be great hereafter humble yourself now; love to be unknown and despised, for he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Lk xiv:11).