Short remedies against sloth, covetousness, gluttony, talkativeness, and impurity

December 10, 2021 • 5 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 391
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Sloth and Indolence suggest: If you apply yourself to study, prayer, meditation, and tears you will injure your eyes. If you prolong your vigils and fasts you will weaken your body and unfit yourself for spiritual exercises.

Industry and Zeal answer: Who has assured you many years for the performance of these good works? Are you sure of to-morrow, or even of the present moment? Have you forgotten these words of our Saviour: “Watch ye, therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour”? [St. Matt. xxv. 13.] Arise, then, and cast aside this indolence which has seized you, for the kingdom of Heaven, which suffers violence, is not for the slothful, but for the violent who will bear it away. [St. Matt. xi. 12.]

Covetousness insinuates: Do not give any of your possessions to strangers, but keep them for yourself and your own.

Mercy answers: Remember the lesson of the covetous rich man of the Gospel who was clothed in purple and fine linen; he was not condemned for taking what did not belong to him, but for not giving from his abundance. [St. Luke xvi. 22.] From the depth of hell he begged for a drop of water to quench his thirst; but it was denied him, because he had refused to the poor man at his gate even the crumbs which fell from his table.

Gluttony urges: God created all these things for us, and he who refuses them despises the benefits of God.

Temperance answers: True, God created these things for our maintenance, but He willed that we should use them with moderation, for He has also imposed upon us the duty of sobriety and temperance. It was principally a disregard of these virtues which brought destruction upon the city of Sodom. [Ezech. xvi. 49.] Therefore, a man, even when enjoying good health, should consult necessity rather than pleasure in the choice of his food. He has perfectly triumphed over this vice who not only limits the quantity of his food, but who denies himself delicacies except when necessity, charity, or politeness prompts him to accept them.

Loquacity tells us: It is no sin to talk much if you say no evil, as, on the contrary, it does not free you from fault to allege that your words are few if what you have said is bad.

Discreet Reserve answers: That is true; but great talkers seldom fail to offend with the tongue. Hence the Wise Man says: “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin.” [Prov. x. 19.] And if you are so fortunate as to avoid injurious words against your neighbor, you will hardly avoid idle words, for which, however, you must render an account on the last day. Be reserved and moderate, therefore, in your speech, that a multiplicity of words may not entangle you in sin.

Impurity counsels thus: Profit now by the pleasures life offers you, for you know not what may happen to-morrow; it is unreasonable to restrict the pleasures of youth, which passes like a dream. If God had not willed us the enjoyment of these pleasures He never would have created us as we are.

Chastity answers: Be not deceived by such illusions. Consider what is prepared for you. If you live pure lives on earth you will be rewarded hereafter with ineffable and eternal joys. But if you abandon yourself to your impure desires you will be punished by torments equally unspeakable and eternal. The more sensible you are of the fleeting nature of these pleasures, the more earnestly you should endeavor to live chastely; for wretched indeed is that hour of gratification which is purchased at the expense of endless suffering.

All that we have said in the preceding pages will furnish you with spiritual arms to triumph oyer your enemies.

If you follow these counsels you will take the first step in virtue; that is, you will extirpate your vices.

Thus will you defend your soul, the citadel which God has confided to your care, and in which He wills to take up His abode.

If you defend it resolutely and faithfully you will enjoy the presence of this heavenly Guest, for the Apostle tells us that “God is charity, and that he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him.” [1 St. John iv. 16.]

Now, he abides in charity who does nothing to destroy this virtue, which perishes only by mortal sin, against which the preceding considerations may be applied as a preventive or remedy.

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