Collect of the Day:
Grant, we ask you, almighty God,
that the praise that we have offered you this Day,
we may offer you again, even more, with your saints in eternity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
The First Reading: James: 2:14-24. 26: A body dies when it is separated from the spirit, and in the same way faith is dead if it is separated from good works.
The Gospel: Mark: 8:34-9:1: Whoever loses his life for My sake and the sake of the Gospel, will save it.
The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues Part Eight: Sloth.
Sloth is the desire for ease, even at the expense of doing the known will of God. Whatever we do in life requires effort. Everything we do is to be a means of salvation. The slothful person is unwilling to do what God wants because of the effort it takes to do it. Sloth becomes a sin when it slows down and even brings to a halt the energy we must expend in using the means to salvation.
St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica described Sloth as “sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good… [it] is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.”
As we can plainly see from the above explanations of Sloth, it can be theologically described as being careless towards the things of God. A sin that combines neglect of one’s own spiritual welfare with contempt for the Gospel, all in the hope that there will be enough time when one is old to get oneself right with God. Even great Saints have had this inclination. Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the Churches great theologians and Doctors famously once said:
“Oh, Master, make me chaste and celibate – but not yet!”
The problem with this thinking is that there may be no latter time to get things right with God, toady is all we have! We have no guarantee of a tomorrow!!! No person alive knows how much time they have left. As St. Paul tells us; ‘Today is the time of Salvation.’ So the Sin of Sloth can often be associated with the Sin of Presuming on God’s mercy which is in Theological terms one of the ‘Six Sins against the Holy Spirit.’
So many times as a Priest I have heard people tell me; ‘Father, I do not have time to read the Bible, or time for daily Prayer etc. But they often have time to watch shows on television that add little if anything to their Spiritual edification. I have been guilty of this sin myself. I understand that we need time for recreation, and I am not against that at all. Although if you look carefully at the word recreation you see it is comprised of two parts, Re and Creation. If we are to use our recreation time to re create ourselves, what better way could there be than spending time with our Creator? Prayer should never be a chore, rather a time of Communion with God.
We all have different energy levels, some people are ill and do not have much strength for example, or elderly etc. But we all must do what we can, how so ever small or large, if you can only truly manage one prayer of intercession a day that would be enough if offered in the right spirit. Sloth is not weighed in how much or how little you can accomplish, rather in doing and not neglecting what we are able to do.
A good way to fight against the Sin of Sloth is to daily ponder the following meditation, which can also be found on our Faith Basics page:
Subjects for Daily Meditation and Prayer:
Remember, Christian Soul, that you have this day, and every day of your life:
- God to glorify
- Jesus to imitate
- A soul to save
- A body to mortify
- Sins to repent of
- Virtues to acquire
- Hell to avoid
- Heaven to gain
- Eternity to prepare for
- Time to profit by
- Neighbours to edify
- The world to despise
- Devils to combat
- Passions to subdue
- Death perhaps to suffer
- Judgement to undergo
I would like to leave you today to ponder on God’s view of Sloth from the “Book of Proverbs”
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man. ( Proverbs 6:6-11)