The extreme madness of using God’s own gifts against him

March 2, 2022 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 42
By Venerable Louis of Granada

If it be so great a crime to forget this Lord, what must it be to insult Him, and to convert His benefits into the instruments of our offences against Him?

“The first degree of ingratitude,” says Seneca, “is to neglect to repay the benefits we have received; the second is to forget them; the third is to requite the benefactor with evil.” But what shall we say of that excess of ingratitude which goes so far as to outrage the benefactor with his own benefits?

I doubt whether one man ever treated another as we dare to treat God. What man, having received a large sum of money from his sovereign, would be so ungrateful as immediately to employ it in raising an army against him? Yet you, unhappy creature, never cease to make war upon God with the very benefits you have received from Him.

How infamous would be the conduct of a married woman who, having received a rich present from her husband, would bestow it upon the object of her unlawful love in order to secure his affections! The world would regard it as base, unparalleled treason; yet the offence is only between equals.

But what proportions the crime assumes when the affront is from a creature to God! Yet is not this the crime of men who consume their health, and waste, in the pursuit of vice, the means that God has given them?

They pervert their strength to the gratification of their pride; their beauty but feeds their vanity; their wealth enables them to conceal their vices, to vie with the great, to pamper their flesh, to traffic in innocence, bargaining, even as the Jews did with Judas, for the blood of Christ!

What shall I say of their abuse of other benefits? The sea serves but to satisfy their gluttony and their ambition; the beauty of creatures excites their gross sensuality; earthly possessions but feed their avarice; and talents, whether natural or acquired, only tend to increase their vanity and pride.

Prosperity inflates them with folly, and adversity reduces them to despair. They choose the darkness of the night to hide their thefts, and the light of day to lay their snares, as we read in Job. In a word, they pervert all that God lias created for His glory to the gratification of their inordinate passions.

What shall I say of their effeminate adornments, their costly stuffs, their extravagant perfumes, their sumptuous tables groaning under the weight of rare and luxurious viands? Nay, sensuality and luxury are so general that, to our shame, books are published to teach us how to sin in these respects.

Men have perverted creatures from their lawful use, and instead of making God’s benefits a help to virtue, they have turned them into instruments of vice. So great is the selfishness of the world that there is nothing which men do not sacrifice to the gratification of the flesh, wholly forgetful of the poor, whom God has so specially recommended to their care. Such persons never find that they are poor until they are asked for alms; at any other time there is no extravagant luxury their income cannot afford.

Beware lest this terrible accusation be made against you at the hour of death! The greater the benefits you have perverted the more severe the account you will have to render.

It is a great sign of reprobation for a man to continue to abuse the favors God has bestowed upon him. To have received much, and to have made but small return, is, in a manner, already to have judged himself.

If the Ninivites shall rise in judgment against the Jews for not having done penance at our Saviour’s teaching, let us see that the same Lord shall have no reason to condemn us upon the example of beasts that love their benefactors, while we manifest such gross ingratitude to the Supreme Benefactor of all.

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