The general nature and history of Envy

November 14, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 353

CHAPTER XXXIII.

REMEDIES AGAINST ENVY.

Envy consists in grieving at another’s good or repining at another’s happiness.

The envious man looks with hatred upon his superiors who excel him, upon his equals who compete with him, upon his inferiors who strive to equal him.

Saul’s envy of David and the Pharisees’ envy of Christ could only be satisfied by death; for it is the character of this cruel vice to stop at nothing until it has compassed its end.

Of its nature it is a mortal sin, because, like hatred, it is directly opposed to charity. However, in this, as in other sins, there are degrees which do not constitute a mortal sin, as, for example, when hatred or envy is not grave, or when the will does not fully consent.

Envy is a most powerful, a most injurious vice. It is spread all over the world, but predominates particularly in the courts of kings and in the society of the rich and powerful.

Who, then, can be free from its attacks? Who is so fortunate as to be neither the slave nor the object of envy? From the beginning of the world history abounds with examples of this fatal vice.

It was the cause of the first fratricide which stained the earth, when Cain killed Abel. [Gen. iv.]

It existed between the brothers Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and the latter fell a victim to the envy of the former.

Behold its effects in the brothers of Joseph, who sold him as a slave; [Gen. xxxvii.] in Aaron and Mary, the brother and sister of Moses. [Numbers xii.]

Even the disciples of our Lord, before the coming of the Holy Ghost, were not wholly free from it.

Ah! when we see such examples, what must we expect to find among worldlings, who are far from possessing such sanctity, and who are seldom bound to one another by any ties?

Nothing can give us an idea of the power of this vice or the ravages it effects. Good men are its natural prey, for it attacks with its poisoned dart all virtue and all talent.

Hence Solomon says that all the labors and industries of men are exposed to the envy of their neighbors. [Eccles. iv. 4.]

Therefore, you must diligently arm yourself against the attacks of such an enemy, and unceasingly ask God to deliver you from it. Let your efforts against it be firm and constant.

If it persevere in its attacks, continue to oppose an obstinate resistance, and make little account of the unworthy sentiments it suggests.

If your neighbor enjoy a prosperity which is denied you, thank God for it, persuaded that you have not merited it or that it would not be salutary for you.

Remember, moreover, that envying the prosperity of others does not alleviate your own misery, but rather increases it.

Latest book snippets

See all 518 | Random Book Snippet

Recent Blog Posts

See all

  • Law and Sin December 1, 2021 • 7 min

    St. Paul talks a lot about the law, and that it’s good, and St. John talks a lot about lawlessness, and that it’s evil. In fact, St. Paul calls the Antichrist the lawless one, and St. John says there are many antichrists before the final one. What can we learn from all this?

  • How to overcome temptations November 30, 2021 • 11 min

    Evil is light a black hole. The more you stare at it, or the closer you get, the more you are pulled in. There’s only one way to avoid getting sucked into this black hole: cling fast to God.

  • Biblical words of comfort for those who suffer injustices November 29, 2021 • 10 min

    When you feel like you can’t handle any more of the difficulties God is putting in your life, don’t despair. Jesus is going to rescue you from it soon. Here are some of the promises from the Bible to comfort and reassure you:

  • Thoughts on what Heaven will be like November 28, 2021 • 13 min

    The goal of this life is to be convinced that the Love of God is worth not sinning. And one of the best rewards we will receive, if we believe this and put it into practice faithfully until death, is Heaven. So it’s helpful to think about Heaven and what it will be like.

  • Death and Life November 27, 2021 • 8 min

    We’re so afraid of bad things happening, but that’s exactly what Jesus came here to save us from. The more we love Jesus and trust in him, the less our problems in life can hurt us.

  • How the Saints were helped in bad times, and what they recommended us to do November 26, 2021 • 9 min

    The Saints universally recommend that we meditate on the Passion of Christ, as the best thing we can do for our salvation. It’s also extremely helpful in dealing with bad times.

Books

Movies