On Envy

Friends in Christ,
the Book of Wisdom speaks today of how evil people react when goodness is placed in their midst. The result is often envy. This is the sin that prompts bullies in the school to harass good children, and it is the sin that led to the crucifixion of Our Lord.
.
It is no coincidence that it is the central sin of the devil, who having thrown away his own salvation, seeks to destroy the most precious thing of God’s: His people. As St. Paul says, it is through the envy of the devil, that death entered the world.
.
What are the types of envy? Well, when we see another have something good, or an honor, or receive a compliment – we can envy – we wish to surpass them, in honor or reputation, and that person becomes our rival. Notice that we don’t envy those who are far above us; we never feel threatened or consider as a rival, the governor or a senator, because we could not surpass them.
.
But those who are close to us, our colleagues and peers, these are the ones we are tempted to envy. We wish to be thought more honorable than our peers. Therefore, those who love honors are easily envious. Those who are cowardly and weak, they too can easily become envious, because to them all things achieved seem great.
.
Sometimes the old envy the young, and those who have worked hard to achieve something, envy those who have done it with less effort.
.
The most sinful form of envy is spiritual envy. we feel sadness because another person is closer to Christ or has found peace in their life. This is the envy of the devil and of the Chief priests who crucified Christ. Thomas Aquinas considers spiritual envy to be a sin against the Holy Spirit.
.
Now envy is a capital sin, also called a deadly sin. Why? Because from it springs a multitude of others sins and evils. The offspring of envy are many. By envy we plan to lower another’s reputation, and this leads to gossip, detraction, ridicule, and ultimately hatred which could lead to violence.
.
Now if, in seeing what another has achieved or acquired, we are inspired to work at achieving the same, that is not envy, but rather zeal, because the person is not a rival but an inspiration to us. Charity rejoices in our neighbor’s success, while envy is sad over our neighbor’s success. So let us leave envy to small minds, and instead work hard to achieve what we can, and rejoice in our neighbor’s success.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation