The Deadly Seven – Greed

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

I think Biggie Smalls said it best, ” Mo Money, mo’ problems.”  This week we are going to take a closer look at Greed.  Welcome to my series of the Deadly Seven.  If you are new here, you can click here to get a list of all the ones we’ve covered so far.


Gimme, gimme, gimme.  The words that parents do not like to hear.  In fact, I’m sure that some of us even said that to ourselves when we see something that we feel that we must have.




We can define Greed as the following:

also known as avarice, cupidity, or covetousness, is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one’s self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. (source)


Just A Little More


Did you know that those of us who are moderately well off (have a decent paying job) and those who are very well off, always compare themselves with people are further along in life than they are?  This means: instead of being happy with one television, and a car, we compare our lives with people who have two cars, and two televisions, and bigger houses.   Unfortunately, we equate happiness with lifestyles.

Ultimately, with Greed, we are looking for temporary things (money, possessions etc.) to make us happy.  We are looking for satisfaction in the things that surround us, when ultimately, they end up leaving us wanting more.


The Vices of Greed


Consumerism.  Noticed how things are advertised these days?  The iWatch commercial will again be used as an example.  Here in this commercial, they have smooth voice explain the features of the watch, while the screen lures us in, slowly, seductively, on the journey.  Nothing is done quick or fast, since that’s not seductive.  At the end of the commercial, you’re left drooling over the watch by how it was explained.  Consumerism is just like that.  We are constantly lured, in, and begin to lust after the things that we think will make us happy.  In the end, we just end up spending money to fill a void that is still there.

Living Beyond Our Means.  Of course this is related to consumerism, where we want and want, but ultimately, our lifestyles become too expensive for us.  We’re borrowing to keep up, because we have a fear of missing out on all the luxury items.  Oh, and it’s okay to do it, because everyone is doing it.


Failure to TitheWhat does donating have anything to do with greed?  Well, it goes back to keep it all to oneself.  If you give to others then you won’t have.  No one is saying that we have to tithe until we have nothing, that would be reckless–to put our families in danger, but think how helpful will be with our fellow human by tithe (or helping) those in need.


Opposite Virtue


The opposite virtue to greed is generosity. We can be generous of spirit, and through wealth.

 One of the best ways to help keep this in check is to:  

  1. Live simply.
  2. Trust God.
  3. Give Generously.

I’m going to suspect that the first one–live simply–is something that’s hard to do.  After all, what does it mean to live simply?  Go back to time before television?  Well, I don’t think that is what it means.  I think to live simply means to have what you need, and no more.  For instance, you can buy coffee, but does it have to be the one that’s brewed across the world that cost like $20 a cup?  (Shows you how much I drink coffee), or will a simple cup of coffee be okay.

To discern this, I believe pride, will end up rearing its head: I deserve this expensive cup of coffee, but I hope you understand.  

Once in a while is fine, we all treat ourselves, but what happen when the treat becomes an everyday thing?

What does “living simply” mean to you?


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The Deadly Seven — Sloth

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

Ahh, number 5, and I’m feeling quite lazy already.  Okay, buck up, only have this one and two more to go (my mini pep talk).

Greetings, if you’re new to this series, welcome, you can check out all the post regarding this topic here.



Sloth has always been portrayed as the lazy person.  veggin’ out on the couch, eating chips, and the room is a complete mess, shoo, they are a complete mess!  But there’s more to it than that.



What is Sloth?

Sloth: reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.

The many sins of sloth are: apathy, idleness, indifferent, wasting time, cowardice, irresponsibility, workaholism, and many sins of omission, including the failure to observe the Lord’s day and other neglected duties.  Stress over the prospect what it means to embrace the faith completely.

Problems of the Workaholic


Sloth is not a sin against the clock.  In fact, we as Americans are pretty good about our work ethic.  We wake up early, some of us refuse to be completely off during vacations (I was one of them), we have always been busy for the sake of being busy.  But that is the problem.

With the capital sin of Sloth, it’s not a sin against time, but against God.  John Paul II wrote,

” the heart of the tragedy being experienced by modern man: the eclipse of the sense of God and of man.”  

We are moving into (or have already moved) to a place where people already feel they are above God.  Some have even defined faith on their own terms.

John Paul II explains that when we lose a sense of God in our lives, we lose a sense of our purpose.  We are then defined by what we do, instead of who we are.  Some of us even define ourselves by what we have


Always Seeking Entertainment


Diversions, or entertainments are just that, a diversion.  There should and has to be a complete balance between working (which is a virtue) and leisure.  One of the issues of always turning to diversions, and neglecting our duties,  is finding ourselves bored, and apathetic towards things in life.  

This would probably explain why we feel so drained after a full day of catching up on our favorite tv shows.  Our lives require balance.

A great way to see the balance between work and leisure is the book of Genesis, we see that God has defined this for us by having a day of rest.


Apathy Towards The Gospels


This will be a hard pill for many to swallow but Saint Augustine said it best:

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

Unfortunately, this is the cold hard truth.  We cannot change the gospels to fit our whims.  We cannot say that things have changed and the gospels has to change with our current times (and sentiments).  We cannot call ourselves disciples if we do not accept all aspects of the gospels. 

Some will choose to turn a blind ear to some parts of the gospels, because it’s hard for us to follow.  However, being disciples and part of God’s family is hard.  It requires a change in self completely (Luke 14:25-33), it requires to choosing your faith above all and owning it.  

We are called to know what stops us from following God–even if it is ourselves.  


Sloth In The Extreme


In the extreme sense of spiritual sloth, we begin to:

  • Have a distain for anything spiritual.
  • Neglect prayers and reading of the Bible
  • Refuse to go to Church, by giving ourselves the excuse “what’s the point.” or “I have other things I need to do.”  
  • Close our ears and minds to anything spiritual.

 By neglecting these things and others, we become indifferent towards God.  Worse, we don’t become the man or woman whom God has made us to be.  In that sense we refuse God’s grace.


Getting Things Back In Order


Ultimately, the people who pay for our unrelenting need to work (or stay busy), is our family.  We start neglecting the people that we love, even if we say we are doing everything for them.  As a result, we find our relationships muted.

Pray and ask for guidance.  Pray for God to help you with this vice.  It’s one that can easily slip up on us, especially in this culture.  Ask the Lord to help with discernment, so that you know what is truly important, and what can wait.  

Keep the Lord’s Day Holy.  After a long Saturday, it’s so easy to say that we just want to sleep in and do nothing.  But we are reminded that the Sabbath is the Lord’s day by heading out to Church.  We start the Sabbath with Church and afterwards remind ourselves that it is a day for God and family.  Going to Mass should then be seen not as the least for what we can do, but to start the beginning of a Holy day.

Set Clear Boundaries.  Truly use a day to set aside for your family.  No devices, no social media, no news.  Nada.  Spend that time with your family.  That doesn’t necessarily mean to spend time in front of the TV, but truly have a conversation with your spouse, and kids.  Use this time to reconnect with each other.

Know Your Priorities.  There are so many things that can just wait, or simply not important enough.  Know exactly what they are.  Sometimes, a small thing can seem to be a huge thing that we must do, but don’t be fooled by it.  Know what it is you are truly doing for your family, and what you’re doing simply to look important.

Learn How to Plan Your Time Well.  Yes, sloth is not a sin against the clock, but we can easily become distracted by things we think are important.  Plan your time for meal planning, chores, and the like. These things of course has to get done, but we don’t have to be slaves to them.  


Opposite Virtue


The opposite virtue to sloth is zeal and diligence.  

As some of you know, trying a new workout routine is hard.  But one has to be enthusiastic and plan diligently to reach their goals.  Combating Sloth is not going to be easy, but it’s also going to be painful at first.  


Do you find that you are easily distracted by being too busy?  What must you do to get back in order?

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The Deadly Seven — Lust

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

If Wednesday is the hump day of the week, then Lust is the hump sin of the series — okay,  bad joke.  You can check out the rest of the Deadly Seven, by clicking here for the list.

Moving right along now, Lust.  Most of us have a pretty good idea what Lust is.  I mean, we see it talked about a lot, and in our society that is a sexual society, it’s hard not to know it.



What is Lust?

Very strong sexual desire: he knew that his lust forher had returned.

• in sing. ] a passionate desire for something: a lust for power.


 Other Forms of Lust


Using Someone To Get What We Want.  Yes, lust is usually defined in the sexual definition, but even in the basic definition of lust we can use someone to get what we want.  It may not be sexual, however, we sometimes make friends with people because of what they can offer us, not what we both can bring to the table.  At this point, we don’t see them as a person but as an object to get what we want.


Lust In Marriages


Lust or Desire.  I think in our society we are very confused with the idea of lust and desire.  Lust, satisfies itself.  There is no greater meaning for it, since it starts and ends with itself.  So lust can enter a marriage if all we think about is what our spouse can do for us.  If our thoughts primarily focus on our own pleasure then it is indeed lust.  Desire on the other hand is a very strong feeling of wanting someone or for something to happen.  It doesn’t say or mean that it will happen.  We can desire our spouses, after all, that is what keeps love going: to want them in all ways.  We don’t want them or love them because there is something we can get from them, but we love them for who they are, with all their faults.

Visual Stimulation.  ABC’s Scandal comes to mind with this one.  In one episode, Mellie tells Fitz that if he see’s Olivia tell her.  She doesn’t want to be surprised about his sudden attentions because he would like to use her to satisfy his personal cravings.  The idea of Fitz using Mellie in that way because he can’t really get who he wants at the time and instead turns to her for his gratification, I wonder how many of us would feel if we did that to our spouses or worse–have it happen to us.


Lust in Society (Non Sexual)


Not too long ago, Apple came out with a commercial that discusses the iWatch.  Now, the first time you see this commercial (or infomercial) there is slow movements, such as slow turns, the light hitting the curves off of the body of the watch, and the deep timbre voice discussing what Apple wanted to do with the idea of the watch.  As a commercial, it’s a very good marketing strategy, however, we can see how far we’ve come when we’ve applied applying sexual advertisements to objects.


Lust Gone Wrong

 Two examples that can show us how lust leads us to other kinds are sins are:

(1) A few weeks ago,  Mary Spears  was killed because she refused to give a man her number.  

(2)  Dana writes about her experience after her rape, and how she also dealt with lust, not only as a victim but also  as a means of getting back at her attacker. 


How do we overcome lust?

Pray.  You must enter prayer into your life.  Pray for the Lord to help you, ask the Saints to pray for you.  

Remove yourself from temptation.  If you find that you are a place and you know your flesh is weak, remove yourself from it.  There is nothing wrong turning your head from a very explicit scene on the screen or even turning the channel.  

Be Open of your activities with your loved ones.  Keep no secrets of your browsing history online.  Share with your family what you have done, and where you have gone.  Even go as far as getting a filter system for your account to block out certain sites.  

Keep eye contact.  Instead of roaming a person’s body when you meet them, look at them straight in the eye when you talk to them.  Hopefully, this will help you keep your thoughts pure.

Charity Work.  Give yourself selflessly to those in need.  When you are busy helping others in need, you don’t have time to focus on your desires.  

Pick your crowd.  If your group of friends like going to clubs, and you know that is a place of temptation for you, you can either sit out or decide to find other people who have the same interests as you.  


Lust is a difficult topic to talk about these days because our culture is so prevalent on showing every piece of skin that we have.  We are so used to seeing the sexualization of our society that we don’t even bat an eye anymore–that is until a young child starts to absorb and reflect society.  

 Self examination is usually key in determining if we’re suffering from Lust.  Some of us may even suffer from the non-sexual part of lust by using others to get what we want.

Have you ever entered a friendship so that you can move up at work, or become more popular?

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The Deadly Seven — Envy

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

Three weeks and going strong!  If this is your first time here, welcome to the series.  You can catch up on the rest of the series by starting at the introduction found here.

I seemed to be somewhat obsessed with this, because I also wrote about Envy here as well.  For some, it may seem like I already covered this, but there will be some new elements to this.


Defining Envy


Envy is defined as:

(1)The immoderate desire to acquire good that belong to others for oneself; even unjustly.

(2) A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

 While I have discussed envy before, and you can check out my post, The Problem With Envy, this sin does have two sides of its coin.

Two Sides of Envy


Saddness.  A person can be sad at seeming the good fortune and blessing of another.  This feeling of sadness usually makes a person uncomfortable, but it’s there.  In this cause instead of just accepting that good things are at work for the other person, we try to make up excuses why we don’t have these things in our lives.

Pleasure or Joy at their downfall.  This..this is where a lot of people fall into.  Some take great pleasure at seeing other people fail.  Some start to feel a confidence boost when they find out that things didn’t exactly go the way the other person was planning.  

Getting Into The Fighting Mode


So how can we stop the feelings of envy-or at least stop it in it’s tracks?  The opposite virtue of envy is: Charity, Good-Will, and Abandonment to Define Providence.

1. Pray.  You are going to need all the prayers you can get.  Believe it (or not) but envy can be very disastrous to ourselves and those around us.  We sometimes thing that we are only feeling it, but the way we feel comes out by the way we talk with one another, and how we describe each other.  Before you say anything about anyone (especially that person who we think they think they know it all) we have to check ourselves.

2. Don’t Tear Down.  No need to tear down another person’s reputation.  Stop yourself before you say anything negative about another person to yourself or to someone who you meet.  Instead, try to share something positive about them.  

Upset that someone’s moving further along at work?  Instead of sulking about it, rejoice in their accomplishments.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your thoughts would change from negative to positive.

3. Learn From Them.  This is a perfect opportunity to better yourself.  You can use this time to learn from them, find out what works so that you can improve on yourself.  Instead of using energy to tear down, you’ll be using you energy to build yourself up.

4. Dismiss Negative Talk and Gossip.  This can be the hardest, but a lot of the time, when someone is going to gossip about another person, there is sometimes hints of jealousy and envy lurking nearby.  It’s hard to tell the source of why the gossiper is gossiping, but sometimes, it’s just to tear someone down.

Again, the only way to know if this is your vice is to practice self-examination.  

Do you feel envious sometimes?  Does that feeling cause you to talk bad about people who you know?  How do you try to overcome the Envy you feel in your life?

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A Closer Look At The Deadly Seven – Anger

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

Welcome back to my mini series.  Last week, I discussed Pride.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should jump over there and take a look at it.  If you want to take a look at all post for this series, you can start with the Introduction.

This week, I plan on looking at anger.  Now, I’ve talked about anger before on this blog.  But today, I’m going to try to look at it from a different perspective.


What is Anger?


a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
synonyms: rage, vexation, exasperation, displeasure, crossness, irritation, irritability, indignation, pique; More
antonyms: pleasure, good humor

So what’s wrong with anger?  Well, nothing by itself.  Actually, angry is a very normal emotion.  The catch is the passion of anger that we’re usually caught up with.  That is when we usually go from being angry to doing something in anger.

For example, someone can cut you off in line, and yup, that would make me angry too, but it’s how we choose to redress an evil then it becomes a sin.  Why? you wonder…well, if we don’t work through our angry and seriously calm ourselves, then our angry can and will lead us towards hatred, resentment, and the desire for revenge.


The Sins of Anger


The sins of anger are the following: hatred, revenge, impatience, denial of the truth to others and self, self-righteousness, and desiring to harm others.  To be quite honest, anger is the root of acts of violence.  We’ll let that sink in for a bit.

Most of us are pretty cool with handling our anger issues.  Many of us know that is if someone crosses us, we know not to stalk them in the parking lot.  For if we do, and in that moment of passion, our actions could become reprehensible — hence the crime of passion law.

  1. crime of passion, or crime passionnel, in popular usage, refers to a violent crime, especially murder, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage rather than as a premeditated crime. (source)

That’s why they have it on the books, and to me, it’s acting and going to a point of no return.


But Why Impatience, and Denial of the Truth to others and Self


I wouldn’t have actually contributed impatience with anger, but I can see how someone could be harmed with that tendency.  To be impatience you could rush someone along, being rude or discourteous to one another.  It’s just about physical acts of violence that matter.  It’s the acts of violence that we do with our thoughts and minds.

On another note, think of how many friendships were destroyed when people were told that their spouse was seen with someone, and it was the good friend that shared that information.  Not gossip, but shared it.  In our anger, we could also lash out at the wrong people.

I think the lesson that I’m learning here is that no one is expecting anyone to be a doormat, however, if there is a time for correction, then the person should be corrected. Without malice, and without the intent to show our own superiority.  The correction should be made and we should be done with it.

Now, how the other person perceives our correction, and their reaction to it, (assuming that it was made without judgment or ego), would depend on their pride.  Remember it’s not only what we say, but how we say it.


How to Combat Anger


1.  Prayer.  Prayer is a winning force in these vices.  I seriously do not believe that anything can be done without prayer.

2.  Assume ignorance of the person.  This is going to be harder for a lot of us to swallow, but it reminds me of the last moments during Christ’s crucifixion when he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  A lot of people are like that though. We live in our own words, that we fail to remember that our actions has an effect on other people.  Other times, other people have really no clue.  At this point it’s not only knowing the words of Christ, but living them as well.

3.   “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Lk 6:27).  This is hard to do.  It’s easy for us to say it, but living these words change the very fiber of you.  How hard will it be for us to rise up against our own impulses, our own anger, and pride to turn the other cheek.  To forgive the person who did wrong, and not hold it against them?  But imagine how much hurt we can let go if we really did this?

4.  Step away and cool off.  You know you’re angry.  It’s time you remove yourself from company and cool off.  Get a level head and come back to it when things are calmer for you.  By making any decisions while angry, you will be callous, and impatient, and (let’s just be honest about this) not nice at all.  


Virtue to Overcome Anger


Anger’s opposite virtue is meekness.  


When Christ met people who wanted to torture him and kill him, he prayed for them.  How often are you angry over the small things in your life? What can you do to help yourself with this in the future?

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The Deadly Seven – Pride

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Faith & Spirituality

We are going to start this series with the mother of all the Deadly Sins–Pride.  Why would we consider pride as the mother of all?  Well it is pride that usually leads us down the slippery slope of all the other vices.

When I first thought of pride, I always would think of someone who was full of themselves. The image that conjured in my mind was of a person who head was up, nose in the air, and they thought highly of themselves.

In the movie Seven, they depicted pride as the woman who had to choose between calling for help (after her nose was cut off) or taking her life. As you can guess, she took her own life with sleeping pills.


What Is Pride?


  1. pride noun \ˈprīde
    : a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people

: a feeling that you are more important or better than other people

: a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.

Now, there isn’t anything wrong with liking yourself. After all, it should start with the self right?  Pride is inordinate self-love.   In other words: your reality becomes skewed and shifted.  You start to believe that you are the source of the greatness that you have. This then leads to you thinking that you’re actually greater or important than you actually are. 

Here are the sins of pride:

  1. Vanity
  2. narcissism
  3. Failure to give credit to others
  4. An excessive of self-love
  5. Exaggerated sense of self.

Pride is wanting to be above and ahead of everyone, simply to be ahead and above everyone.   Ultimately, it sets us in competition with God and with others.

The Uncommon List of Pride


  1. Timidness
  2. Shyness
  3. self-consciousness


These other traits are forms of pride because we find ourselves paralyzed by the opinion of others.  We stop ourself from doing or saying something, fearing and knowing we are not the best at it, or it will be less than perfect. We begin to seek the approval of others in what we say or do.  


But Really, Self Consciousness?


When I first came to the second list, I was taken aback.  I mean, I have been self-consciousness for a long time.  For example, I used to be afraid to wear a certain shirts or have the gall to walk out in summer without my toes painted. Yes, I do that (they have been manicured, just not painted).

For years I was tormented by the thought of what other would think of me, worst yet, not just think but what they would say!  Growing up, people were not afraid to tell you when you were stepping out of their comfort zones.  This usually meant saying things at you or doing things to you until you got back in [their] line.

But, I had never perceived shyness or being timid a form of pride. After much reflecting,  I can see the truth in it.  

If we hold the opinion of others in such a high regard, that even when we know we are doing right (or no injustice to anyone), but steer towards doing wrong (or not accepting ourselves), it is our pride (in this case fear as well) that paralyzes us.


Who is Prone to the Vice of Pride?


I can safely say that the image of the haughty man has been laid to rest.  And I’ll be honest, I struggled with myself as I was writing this post. I even questioned myself  if I should even start this series, since I’m sure it has been said before, and maybe said even better.  But I’m okay with that now.

 Here are some great points from Saint Josemaria Escriva to help us find out if Pride is our vice:

  • “Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;
  • Always wanting to get your own way;
  • Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;
  • Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;
  • Despising the point of view of others;
  • Making excuses when rebuked;
  • Refusing to carry out menial tasks;
  • Being ashamed of not having certain possessions.”
    (St. Josemaria Escriva,  was the founder of Opus Dei)

To combat pride, one must practice humility.

It does take a lot of self-reflection to decide if pride is your main vice.  Sometimes, we have to ask someone who knows and love us very well to help us find this out.  But once we know what our main vice is, we’ll be on our way to becoming a better person.

Now that you know this information, how will this change the way you think of yourself?  What will you do with this information?

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A Closer Look At The Deadly Seven – Introduction

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Catechetics, Faith & Spirituality

Do you remember when the movie Seven came out?  I think I was still in junior high, but I was drawn to this movie and watched it several times (yes even at that young age).  To think and to learn that there are seven vices that are usually the root to all sin (or evil doing) in this world, and we knew about them all along.

A new mini series that I will be starting on my blog is a deeper look at the Seven Deadly Sins, and I’m going to share them with you in a different way.  The movie Seven showed us the most common themes associated with these sins, but what if I told you there are other kinds of vices that goes with each sin?

The past few weeks I have been offline doing a ton of reading, and found this journey pretty humbling.  Like any good student, I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the information I have learned.

In case you don’t remember, the seven deadly sins are the following:

  1. Pride
  2. Anger
  3. Envy
  4. Lust
  5. Avarice (also known as Greed)
  6. Gluttony
  7. Sloth

Before I begin this series next week, I want to share that while this series is taking a deeper look into these vices, we will also expand our minds and grow.  The point of sharing this different point of view about these Seven, is to offer a different perspective so that we can all become better people, and understand where our weakness are, and how we can try to overcome them.  This reminds me of the verse:


From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).


I hope that starting next week, you will be able to join me at a deeper look into these Seven, and we can ask ourselves, “what will we do with the knowledge that we have received?”


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