And this of course brings us to what is popularly considered to be the root sin of the Sins, Pride. Pride is the belief that we are entitled to whatever we desire, and that we deserve those things no matter what. If we are prideful, we believe that we are better, and if we are better, doesn’t it stand to reason that we as the better person should have that car that your neighbor has? Don’t we deserve it? And what of your abusive neighbor’s husband/wife? We would treat them better, and they could satisfy our lustful hungers in bed, so shouldn’t we take them and save them from their horrible situation while also benefiting ourselves? It is no wonder that Thomas Aquinas called this sin the “worst sin”, it drives us to feel a sense of hatred and disdain towards others and entitlement for anything and everything towards ourselves. The committal of this sin can stem from two things; inherent belief, namely that for whatever reason, we’ve always believed ourselves to be better. Or excessive desires, which drive us to feel that we need, and because we need we are entitled, and because we become entitled we deserve to satiate our desires. Because of our human shortcomings, Pride and each of these Sins are unavoidable in the long run of life. Luckily, however these methods came about, we can combat these pitfalls and traps using the Seven Heavenly Virtues. For Pride, there is Humility. Humility is the putting of others before yourself, but understanding when it becomes too much for you. It is prideful to
Richards 5 insist on helping others alone, it is humble to ask for aid when we need it. Humility requires effort and awareness, and to put in said effort and maintain the awareness there must be something driving us to be humble. Whether the desire is to no longer be prideful or to become a humble human being, it doesn’t matter. To put in the effort we must want the end goal. To counter Gluttony we have to employ self-restraint, namely Temperance. While a gluttonous person devours without hesitation and regard for how it may affect others, a temperate person will be mindful of how much they take, avoiding any amounts that may have an adverse effect on both others and themselves. To be temperate is to recognize our insatiable desires, but to instead feed and cultivate those desires which seem to be good and moral to us. If we can exercise temperance, then the paths we need to take to bring the other Virtues into our lives become much more apparent. To overcome Lust, we must be willing to forgo our sexual desires no matter how intense they may feel. We must exercise Chastity through Temperance, but that doesn’t mean we need to forgo all sexual activity. To be Chaste is to only be sexually active within a loving and romantic relationship. I’m not going to delve too deep into the specifics that religions provide, as I believe they are irrelevant to my argument. Just know that what a “loving romantic relationship” will be, changes based on what beliefs one might subscribe to.
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- Spring '17
- Mrs. Paystrup
- Seven deadly sins, Austin Richards