Daily Reflection May 6 2008: Teaching Series, The Seven Deadly Sins

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The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues Part One:

Today we are going to begin a teaching series on the the Seven Deadly Sins and their Contrary Virtues.

Sin ↓ Virtue ↓
Lust Chastity
Gluttony Temperance
Greed Charity
Sloth Diligence
Wrath Kindness
Envy Patience
Pride Humility

The Seven Capital or Deadly Sins, are today taken as something quite archaic and irrelevant. This in itself is not surprising, in an era when Sin is a word not much used outside religious circles. The idea that Seven in particular may be in a sense FATAL has become insidious.

While in the past the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Virtues have stirred up strong emotions, and provided much fodder for Sermons, Homilies and rebukes. In today’s Post Modern Society few take them seriously and they are almost a joke, not unlike the concepts of ‘Eternal Judgement’ and ‘Hell’. If we are to describe someone as virtuous, it seems rather old fashioned and perhaps quite quaint. On the other hand if we watch a lot of mainstream television sins like lust, greed, envy and the like are often portrayed in a virtuous light.

I have lost count on shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’ how many times the main characters have changed sexual partners with little or no consequence. These shows and others like them are often considered harmless viewing, and many would have no problems with their children watching them. It is no wonder in today’s society that relationships are considered disposable, if televisions ‘Heroes’ are so morally wanting.

Often we will hear, that if any action a person does, does not directly affect another it is alright, but Sin is never just personal and often has dire consequences for those who are most often the closest people to us.

Do not despair though, Religion and the Virtues and Sins that proceed from it, despite the wishes of many, are not dead. They are much a part of the world today as they were of the world of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, who first identified and named them, centuries ago. Tomorrow we continue our discussion on the Sin of Pride.

Msgr. Ian+

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