The last of our seven virtues, kindness, may seem like an odd one to pair with envy. But kindness for kindness's sake is the only selfless virtue that could possibly help us to avoid our selfish, jealous tendencies. Remember the envy itself is not the sin, it is the actions in reaction to the feeling. This makes kindness, an intentional decision rather than a unintentional reaction, its perfect opposite.
At the root of kindness is charity, love, compassion, and friendship for friendship's sake. This means that when we are kind we are charitable to those around us. We love our neighbors freely, not expecting anything in return. We are compassionate to those different than us, we see past the differences and see the beautiful, human soul inside them; we call them brother or sister in Christ, regardless if they believe as we do. Our relationships are pure, they come from a sincere desire to foster a loving, healthy relationship with the other. It is not a competition between the two of us. We build one another up and cheer one another on.
We are called to be many things in our faith. Faithful, loving, prayerful. Kind is something we are rarely reminded of. But kindness is so integral to living that Christian faith we hope to live. No prophet would be successful without receiving the kindness of others and extending kindness. We cannot bring others to God if we cannot be kind to those around. After all, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Even more importantly, acts of kindness are the roots for the works of mercy we are called to do. Feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, these actions must come from a place of kindness for them to be a true act of marriage.
Tomorrow is a day of Thanksgiving; take the day to reflect on your blessings, your successes, and your failures. This Sunday is the first day of a new liturgical year. Don't wait for January 1st to start fresh; why not this Sunday. Take time to reflect on the seven sins, how have you fallen to victim them? Do you have the seven virtues in your life? Conclude your reflection with the Sacrament of Reconciliation to start your new church year.
Happy Thanksgiving and tota tua.
As posts for what we are thankful for and family or significant other pictures begin to saturate our social media, it seems only fitting that envy is the only remaining deadly sin to consider. Envy, that green-eyed monster, is the motivation that caused Cain to kill Abel. It is an all-consuming jealousy that causes us to react with negative intentions and emotions.
Envy is caused by many different things. Wealth, beauty, success, good health. It trips us up as we compare our lives to our fellows. And that is the key right there, the comparison. To envy someone, we have to have taken notice of what they have and what we have; we have to judge ourselves beside someone else. We are often told to not judge others, but we also have not business judging ourselves. It is not our place to decide what we should or should not have. We don't determine our success by comparing it to others. Don't assume that because person X or Y has or has done something in particular that you are less than they are; that you need what they have.
Social media is one of those outlets that can really trip us into envious thoughts about our friends and family. Facebook tends to enable to not only see the Jones family occasionally, but all the time. We know about their new car, their son's scholarship, and their daughter's excellent ballet skills. We can see who is in a relationship, how much weight they have lost, and where they work. But beyond social media, we see the clothes others where, we hear them talk about their vacation plans, and envy sets in.
The first step in avoiding is envy is by admitting that we all are jealous at times. Similar to lust, this a normal human emotion. It is how we act that creates the sin. The perpetual comparison that leads to unhealthy relationships (Cain and Abel) and terrible actions. From there, we need to intentionally notice what we have and be thankful for it. And there is no week more fitting than this week and this upcoming season to take stock and say "thank you" for all we have been blessed with. We should rejoice in another's success as much as we do in our own.