Having discussed The Seven Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy which guide us toward salvation, we may now turn to the Seven Deadly Sins that veer us away from that salvation and toward perdition. What we find is that these seven touches of evil carry corresponding color traditionally associated with them and imply a distortion of love away from God in some way. Also, we find that God have provided us with a prescription to cure each of these 7 paths to perdition as well, and so our eternal salvation may well rest on our ability to take The Almighty's medicine and follow His Divine Guidance lest we take a short detour to damnation. Introduced by Pope Saint Gregory The Great and vividly illustrated by Dante, these sins are listed in order of increasing danger to our eternal fate. Unlike the other lists, this shall be a countdown list beginning with...
Defined as an obsessive, wanton sexual desire or depraved thought and unwholesome morality, this sin is based on a desire of the flesh and depicted by Dante as an excessive love of others with a corresponding loss of love toward God. Any observer of this society and its priorities can see that much of the evil and sin that daily tempts and causes our fall from God's friendship is founded in this sin. We are bombarded with temptations and invitations to indulge materially and interiorly in this evil, and therefore living in this society is a daily struggle against this sin for most of us. God Almighty has provided the medicinal virtue of chastity and purity which we must always strive to develop and maintain despite the assaults of lust so embraced and prevalent in this world.
This sin is associated with the color blue which can be ironic when we think of blue one is more likely to think of the purest person who ever lived - the Blessed Virgin Mary, lovely lady dressed in blue. It should be a reminder to us to strive for purity of body, mind and soul and remember very clearly what our Lady showed the visionaries at Fatima and which Sister Lucia related, "More souls are in hell for sins of the flesh than any other sin."
Defined as waste, overindulgence, or thoughtless excess, this sin is based on a desire of excess and is depicted by Dante as an excessive love of pleasure. This society tells us that one can never have too much of a good thing which is a triple evil because first, it sees things as targets of adoration; second, what it often defines as good is really evil; and third, it is not true that one cannot have too much of anything, since too much of anything is itself an evil in most cases. I guess that one cannot have too much of God and all that leads to God, but everything else does not fit this twisted view of abundance. We see on these "Makeover" reality shows how a family with a modest home is given a palace to live in or someone with average facial features is given the face of a model and this is all presented as a good thing. Such thinking strangles any proper appreciation and contentment with God's gifts and promotes a twisted view of happiness based on selfishness and narcissism.
God Almighty has provided the medicine of moderation which we must learn and practice from an early age. Sadly, we see children already steeped in gluttony by clueless parents. Americans, mesmerized by fast food culture, are grossly overweight and obesity is near the top in medical costs, illnesses and death. The color commonly associated with this sin is orange which is proper since that color is often used in traffic signs to depict danger or slow- moving vehicles, and for hunters to convey caution. In this case, gluttony is a danger to our eternal salvation and will turn our trip to eternal life into a slow-moving crawl unless we practice the virtue of temperance.
Defined as covetousness or avarice, this sin is based on a desire to gain more than one really needs or has use for. This society embraces excess possessions and exaggerated ownership as a god and mark of success. God Almighty provides the medicine of generosity to provide us with a healthy outlet for that excess. In the gap between need and want we find that generosity from which flows holy kindness or liberality and charity. Yellow is commonly associated with this sin which is appropriate because greed is based on a cowardice toward trusting God enough to know that He will bless us many times over for our generosity. The story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish is a vivid illustration of such generosity and its multiplication. Many scholars have observed that it is unlikely that there was no food available in such a large crowd with so many people, but the young boy was the only one willing to selflessly offer what little he had to others. In payment for his generosity, Christ fed the multitude with room to spare. Many people ask if part of the multiplication was not simply people choosing to eat what they had brought rather than overeat when others may not have had any food. Either way, a simple act of generosity destroyed the greed of hoarding food or refusing to share.
While this lost society tells its children that they should share everything it promotes and honors, it often sells the opposite idea. We see people with 20 cars being praised and others with money pouring out of their pockets being idolized and therefore the message is sent that there is nothing wrong with hoarding or absurd excess.
Meanwhile, like yellow-livered cowards, these same idolized ones and the idolaters shy away from the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Defined as laziness or indifference, this sin results in wasting time and talent amid a desire of avoidance that contradicts and prevents the proper application of God's Will. Dante viewed this sin as a "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind, and all one's soul." The prevailing attitude of this lost society based on an "I don't care" attitude promotes this kind of thinking. Do we not learn the lesson from the Church of Laodicia in Apocalypse 3: 15? Do we really want to be listed among the "lukewarm" who will be vomited from the Lord's mouth? The industriousness and work ethic of the past has been replaced by an institutionalized rationalization and martyr complex based on victimization and laziness. I once offered a homeless guy a way to make some money and was roundly insulted. While many poor and homeless are truly victims of a corrupt society, many others are more victims of this society's own institutionalized waste and laziness which glorifies handouts over handing out to others and being served over serving.
This sin is associated with the color light blue which is appropriate because someone drowning in this sin will want to take everything light, and the water they get sucked into is not the pure white water from Christ's propitiatory side, but the murky waters of perdition. It is impossible to properly serve God and follow Christ while being a fan of sloth since truly serving God and following Christ require a zeal and diligence which happen to be the virtues that God offers to us to combat this virus, to buoy us up above the swirling waters.
Sometimes called Wrath, this sin is defined as unrighteous feelings of hatred, revenge, or even denial and is based on a punitive desire outside of justice. Dante described it as "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite." This society sometimes distorts assertiveness from its proper meaning of defending one's integrity and name to seeking revenge and making people pay for hurting us. Most war is the result of this sin and death is the price paid. God provides the medicinal virtue of meekness and patience which this society sometimes mocks as weakness and cowardice, but it takes far greater strength and courage to avoid revenge and retaliation than to seek the easy way out of simply striking back. The Passion of Our Lord is the epitomé of such meekness and patience or composure for a just and holy cause. Red is the obvious color associated with this evil and appropriately much blood is shed in enforcing this sin.
Defined as jealousy or malice, this sin is based on a desire of possessing what belongs to others and is a resentment of material or spiritual possessions of others. Dante tells us that this sin is a "love of one's own good perverted to desire to deprive others of their good." The well-known color associated with this sin is green, a slimy serpentine green no less for obvious reasons, which should remind us that the currency of this sin is perdition. God provides the virtues of charity and brotherly love to turn this evil on its head.
Defined as vanity and narcissism and based on a desire for greatness, this sin is usually considered the worst of all because it brought Lucifer to his fall. It is founded on a desire to be important or attractive to others and on an excessive love of self. Dante saw this sin as a defiant "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor." This deadliest of all sins contradicts the famous saying I AM THIRD which places God first, Others second, and myself last. God Almighty provides us with the virtue of humility so sweet to the saints but bitter to those whose self-love provides no room for love of God or others.
The color commonly associated with this sin is violet which mocks the penitential colors of the the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent and, as the devil is wont to do, turns the color into something reprehensible such as the color of the sodomite movement and its "gay pride" efforts. If this lost society can do anything well, it is sell the self as the be all and end all of morality, happiness, and success. Holiness, sanctity and salvation are based on a total rejection of this false model of live. We must strive to serve our God, then others, and let God take care of us. Try it, it works!
The Seven Deadly Sins provide us with a rainbow for eternal ruin and a prescription for perdition that belie the colors that each sin is commonly associated with. Each sin is a way to hell but as weak humans we often combine them in a deadly brew. It is not a mere coincidence that the sodomite movement has the symbol of a rainbow, for both that rainbow and this one should remind us that evil often uses what is beautiful and good to further its cause.
If the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy, the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy and the Seven Virtues that combat these sins provide us with a roadmap and recipe for salvation, then these Seven Deadly Sins provide a similar roadmap to ruin and perdition. In the last segment of this series, we will look at the seven ways that we participate in the sin of others.