Envy makes us resemble demons, and actually profits us nothing

November 15, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 355

To strengthen your aversion to this vice make use of the following reflections: Consider, first, what a resemblance the envious man bears to the devils, who look with rage upon our good works and the heavenly reward we are to receive for them.

They have no hope of the happiness of which they would deprive us, for they know that they have irretrievably lost it; but they are unwilling that beings created out of dust should enjoy honors of which they have been dispossessed.

For this reason St. Augustine says: “May God preserve from this vice not only the hearts of all Christians, but of all men, for it is the special vice of devils, and one which causes them the most hopeless suffering.”

The crime of Satan is not theft or impurity, but enviously seeking, after his fall, to make man imitate his rebellion. This is truly the feeling which actuates the envious.

Oftentimes the prosperity of others is no prejudice to them; they could not profit by what they strive to take from their neighbor; but they would have all equally miserable with themselves.

If, then, the possessions which you envy in another could not be yours were he dispossessed of them, why should they be a cause of grief to you?

When you envy the virtue of another you are your own greatest enemy; for if you continue in a state of grace, united to your neighbor through charity, you have a share in all his good works, and the more he merits the richer you become.

So far, therefore, from envying his virtue, you should find it a source of consolation. Alas! because your neighbor is advancing will you fall back? Ah! if you would love in him the virtues which you do not find in yourself, you would share in them through charity; the profit of his labors would also become yours.

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