Daily Series on the Catechism

PART  III:  LIFE IN CHRIST

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter 2:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

Article 10,  The Tenth Commandment

I.  The Disorder of Covetous Desires  (cont’d)

§ 2539  Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor, it is a mortal sin:

  • St. Augustine saw envy as “the diabolical sin” (cf. DCR 4, 8: PL 40, 315-316). “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity” (MJ 31, 45: PL 76, 621).

§ 2540  Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:

  • “Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother’s progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because His servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised” (HIR 71, 5: PG 60, 448).

II.  The Desires of the Spirit

§ 2541  The economy of law and grace turns men’s hearts away from avarice and envy. It initiates them into desire for the Sovereign Good; it instructs them in the desires of the Holy Spirit who satisfies man’s heart.

The God of the promises always warned man against seduction by what from the beginning has seemed “good for food…a delight to the eyes…to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).

§ 2542  The Law entrusted to Israel never sufficed to justify those subject to it; it even became the instrument of “lust” (cf. Romans 7:7). The gap between wanting and doing points to the conflict between God’s Law which is the “law of my mind,” and another law “making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members” (Rom 7:23; cf. 7:10).

Tomorrow – The Desires of the Spirit (to be continued)

(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 10 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “DCR” – St. Augustine, “De Catechizandis Rudibus [The Unsophisticated Catechist]”
  • “HIR” – St. John Chrysostom, “Homiliae in ad Romanos [Homilies on the Romans]”
  • “MJ” – St. Gregory the Great, “Moralia in Job [Morality in the Book of Job]”
  • “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 18571866 A.D.)
  • “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 18411855 A.D.)
Available in several languages

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