Considerations to cure our Envy

November 16, 2021 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 356

Consider, moreover, how envy corrodes the heart, weakens the understanding, destroys all peace of soul, and condemns us to a melancholy and intolerable existence.

Like the worm which eats the wood in which it is engendered, it preys upon the heart in which it was given birth.

Its ravages extend even to the countenance, whose paleness testifies to the passion which rages within.

This vice is itself the severest judge against its victim, for the envious man is subjected to its severest tortures.

Hence certain authors have termed it a just vice, not meaning that it is good, for it is a most heinous sin, but meaning that it is its own greatest punishment.

Consider, again, how opposed is the sin of envy to charity, which is God, and to the common good, which every one should promote to the best of his ability; for when we envy another’s good, when we hate those to whom God unceasingly manifests His love, when we persecute those whom He created and redeemed, do we not at least in desire, strive to undo the work of God?

But a more efficacious remedy against this vice is to love humility and abhor pride, which is the father of envy.

A proud man, who cannot brook a superior or an equal, naturally envies all who appear to excel him, persuading himself that he descends in proportion as another rises.

Hence the Apostle says: “Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Gal. vi. 26.] In other words, let us destroy the root of envy, which is vain-glory.

Let us wean our hearts from worldly honors and possessions, and seek only spiritual riches, for such treasures are not diminished when enjoyed by numbers, but, on the contrary, are increased.

It is otherwise with the goods of the earth, which must decrease in proportion to the numbers who share them. For this reason envy finds easy access to the soul which covets the riches of this life, where one necessarily loses what another gains.

Do not be satisfied with feeling no grief at the prosperity of your neighbor, but endeavor to benefit him all you can, and the good you cannot give him ask God to grant him.

Hate no man. Love your friends in God, and your enemies for God. He so loved you while you were still His enemy that He shed the last drop of His Blood to save you from the tyranny of your sins.

Your neighbor may be wicked, but that is no reason for hating him. In such a case imitate the example of a wise physician, who loves his patient, but hates his disease. We must abhor sin, which is the work of man, but we must always love our neighbor, who is the work of God.

Never say in your heart: “What is my neighbor to me? I owe him nothing. We are bound by no ties of blood or interest. He has never done me a favor, but has probably injured me.”

Reflect rather on the benefits which God unceasingly bestows upon you, and remember that all He asks in return is that you be charitable and generous, not to Him, for He has no need of you or your possessions, but to your neighbor, whom He has recommended to your love.

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