The Seven Capital Sins
Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing
that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the
God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you,
and establish you. To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:8-11
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.
That in all things God may be glorified. Holy Rule of St.
True understanding of the nature and effects of the Capital Sins is the
first step in combating them. Let us take up arms now and go to the battle!
We will be what we will to be! (Pages 46-47)
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities
and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits
of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God,
that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the
breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel
of peace: in all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able
to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you
the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).
My Resolution for Today
I resolve this day:
To do all in my power to resist evil and to do good.
To fulfill all the responsibilities of my state in life faithfully.
To observe kindness and honesty in all contacts with my fellowmen.
To preserve complete purity of soul.
If I should be tempted to evil, I will repeat in my heart the words, Do
what is right; Be right; Be cheerful!
That I may be able to keep this resolution,
I ask the help of God, my Creator.
Chapter 1 - Pride
Pride was the first sin committed. It was the sin of Lucifer. It was also the
root of the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve. Pride is the greatest of
sins because it is the summit of self-love and is directly opposed to submission
to God. It is, therefore, the sin most hated by God, and the one He punishes
most severely. The punishment of the Angels, of Adam and Eve, of Nabuchodonosor,
related in the Book of Daniel (4:27-30), bear witness to this. Pride is likewise
the greatest sin because it is the fountainhead of the self-love in which all
other sins take root: From pride all perdition took its beginning.
(Tob. 4:14). There is a species of pride in every sin, whatever may be the individual
nature of the sin itself. Pride is the most dangerous of sins, because it blinds
our understanding, and unless something finally makes us realize the truth,
we are liable to go on, day after day, in a spiritual self-delusion, imagining
our acts to be good and virtuous when certain habits actually may be vicious.
When we are blinded by pride, we do not consider our talents and abilities as
Gods gifts to us, but attribute our good qualities to ourselves, with
the right to use them as we see fit. Everybody is infected with the virus of
pride! But there is a particular kind of pride in each individual; at least
a particular kind dominates, though there may be several of its viruses in the
This pride determines our temperament or our type of character, or at least
is intimately related to it. Searching into our type of pride is very important
for obtaining a true knowledge of ourselves, and for making fruitful efforts
to root out sin and vice from our life. If we are of a sanguine temperament,
our pride takes the form of self-centeredness. We want to be the hub of
the wheel; we want others to notice us. We are touchy and easily offended.
Our pride goads us to seek fame, praise, admiration. We fall into vainglory.
If we have a choleric temperament, our pride is manifested in a strong self-will.
We find it hard to submit to others or to yield to their opinions. We are often
overbearing, critical, given to arguing, inflated with a sense of superiority,
inconsiderate of the rights of others. If we are melancholic, our pride conceals
itself under the garb of self-pity and oversensitiveness. Resentment, harboring
grudges, suspicion, and unexpressed hostility are included in it. Often this
pride is not recognized for what it is because it conceals itself as such, so
we do not confess it as pride. If we have a phlegmatic character, our pride
inclines us to self-complacency and vanity. We are likely to be shocked by faults
in others, but quite satisfied with our own selves. Pride of superiority makes
us want to control the lives of others, to impose ourselves on them, to domineer
over them. It makes our will rigid and unbending when others assert authority.
It is a self-will and obstinacy that sets us against the will of God, opposes
our neighbor and makes us inflexible in carrying out the dictates of our own
Anger, indignation, arrogance, the spirit of contradiction and haughtiness
are some of its offspring. This pride is usually rooted in a strongly opinionated
mind which makes us refuse to see the light of reason or the truth evidenced
by principles of revealed Faith. This unwillingness actually fosters ignorance.
It is the pride which keeps many from entering the Church, or returning to the
practice of the Faith when they have fallen away. Closely connected with this
kind of prideor perhaps we should say another name for itis the
pride of independence. This leads us to disobedience and insubordination, to
contempt and arrogant contradiction, to refusal of advice and assistance, to
resentment of reproof by lawful authority, to blasphemy against God, bitter
cursing, oaths and irreverences in word and act. Delusions in regard to our
own defects, self-conceit, attributing to ourselves our good qualities of mind,
of person or of fortunerather than to God, reveal pride of intellect.
Sins against Faith arise from this pride.
The pride of ambition leads us to seek positions or offices of honor and dignity
by which we prefer ourselves to others, however worthy they may be. It makes
us dream up schemes and projects, and undertake things through presumption,
even when we are ignorant of how to go about them. Excessive confidence makes
us overestimate our abilities. Immoderate desires, vainglory, the desire for
praise, ostentation and the immoderate use of necessities of life in order to
be more highly thought of, stem from this pride. It leads to flattery and hypocrisy.
We may have a pride of spiritual vanity, imagining ourselves to be perfect
and our acts always virtuous or finding a thousand reasons to diminish their
gravity or excuse our faults when we do acknowledge them. Our pride may dress
itself in the guise of naturalism, in which case we practice no restraint in
our behavior, no modesty in our language, no respect in our obedience; we are
deceitful in our humility, caustic in our conversation, inveterate in our hatred,
a foe to submission, greedy of power, desirous of supplanting others, indolent
in action and work. We act through impulse and meddle in the affairs of others.
We wish to know everything through unrestrained curiosity. We like to be always
talking, even of what we do not understand. We may have a pride which makes
us cynical. If so, we speak sarcastically and use cutting words. We ridicule
others, scold and misjudge them.
Pharisaical pride leads us to boastfulness and to criticism of others. It makes
us overtalkative; it leads to lies and contradictions; to esteeming high birth
or social rank above virtue. Haughtiness of manner, disdaining to associate
with those we believe to be inferior, arise from it. It manifests itself by
a legalism in our actions, causing us to fulfill our duties without spirit,
but with hypocrisy. Our pride may hide itself in sensitiveness, or self-pity.
In this case we are over-anxious about what others think of us. We brood over
imagined wrongs and do not easily forgive others.
Closely linked to this form of pride is the pride of timidity, which stems
from unreasonable fear. It makes us fearful of others opinions, so that
we cater to human respect. Under its impulse we fail to act when we should,
because a groundless fear holds us in the bonds of a spiritual sloth that paralyzes
our efforts and makes us incapable of determination, and so we let opportunities
pass by unused.
The pride of scrupulosity fixes our attention on wrong things, so that we pay
exclusive attention to what does not merit such attention, while we are unscrupulous
in things which ought to concern us. Our pride may be centered on our wealth
and prosperity, our station in life, our fine clothes, our wit, beauty or strength.
It may even grow out of our piety and good morals, as indicated by some of the
above groupings. Pride can ruin all the virtues and draw us into all kinds of
disorders. The proud person is capable of any sin. Pride goeth before
destruction; and the spirit is lifted up before a fall. (Prov. 16:18).
Therefore it is most necessary in the spiritual life to fight this vice in whatever
guise it presents itself. If we permit it to enter our heart, the germs of all
the vices enter with it, and we soon find ourselves a slave of Satan. We must
beware of being ensnared by it, for the end of the proud, unrepentant sinner,
as revealed by God, is the everlasting fire of Hell, in company with the demons.
Remedies for Pride
The only way to get the better of pride is to practice humility. It may sound
like a contradiction, but the humble man realizes that he is proud, and earnestly
strives to overcome the manifestations of pride in his life. In striving for
humility, we must always have before our eyes the example of Our Lord. We must
keep in mind His promises in favor of the humble and the vengeance He reserves
for the proud. We must cling to God and do His Will with all our soul. We must
have recourse to prayer, again and again asking for this virtue. We must live
in the presence of God, practice self-denial and the other Christian virtues,
especially patience, forbearance, charity, meekness, submission, abandonment
to God and conformity to His Will, sympathy, confidence in God, compunction
for sin, modesty. We must not seek honors, but admit our nothingness and lack
of virtue. We must be willing to accept humiliations and strive to seek God
in all things.
Taken from The
Seven Capital Sins by TAN Books
& Publishers, Inc.
Other pages discussing Catholic
doctrine and history:
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the Heart of Jesus has a strong desire to love and pardon sinners who sincerely return to Him.
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