“The Catholic Church used the framework of the deadly sins to help people curb their evil inclinations before they could fester.”



  • Daily Mass Readings
    Available HERE
  • Action
    Read this Wikipedia Article
    Intro, List at the end and the observation about male and female confessions if time is short
  • Prayer
    Thank you for the many graces
    received throughout my life
    the capacities for good
    so deeply planted within me.
    Do not hide from me the work still to be done and help me to step confidently towards its completion.

Seven Deadly Sins

Being of a generation with no lived experience of the caricature of the hellfire sermon and its ilk, the seven deadly sins did not appear in my lexicon of Catholicism growing up.  To the extent I was aware of them at all, they seemed to refer most of all to Lust (and six others, vaguely defined), Very easy to scoff at as belonging to the “bad old days”. Only latterly did I come to appreciate that they are not descriptions of Sins at all and are better described as the Seven Deadly Tendencies . As such, they can be a useful way to acknowledge aspects of ourselves that are certainly present but over which I may or may not have acquired some degree of mastery. A road map if you will of the negative impulses in the human condition. 

By not clearly differentiating between the tendency and the sin itself, I leave myself open to judging myself to be in a permanent state of having failed simply because I experience a negative desire (and remember there are 7 not 1!) , when in fact I may be advancing on the road to virtue because I managed to avoid giving in on this or that occasion. It is embarrassing to find that I have a tendency towards gluttony, but we all have a tendency toward something, and , while I may never be rid of the desire to eat too much cake, I may learn to manage it- that’s virtue right there.  The temptation to think of myself as a lost cause because  I still find cake alluring is  unfortunate because it is based on a false premise.

Although it is a bare bones description, I find the Wikipedia article I recommend today is a good starting point for a reflection on the weakness of the human condition as I experience it. It opens me up to the wisdom  of those who have reflected on this theme through the ages. .  Don’t worry if the whole article proves too much, read the introduction and skip to the conclusion which pairs off the vice we are trying to root out with the corresponding virtue which is already even more deeply planted within us at Baptism




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