Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jealousy and Envy

As we approach Passiontide, it is good to reflect upon the nature of envy and jealousy, for it is envy and jealousy which killed Our Lord.

Envy disrupts social life generally. It sets the child against the father, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, and nation against nation. It kills friendship, undermines business relationships, and hinders reconciliation. It is one of the chief sources of misunderstanding, criticism, hatred, vengeance, calumny, detraction, and perverse attacks upon private life.

Envy and greed, the source of the world's unrest and wars, are sins against charity, because they make us seek what belongs to others. Often, even at the cost of harm to our neighbor, we want what does not belong to us....The envious person becomes distrustful, unjust, suspicious. Envy makes its victims ill-tempered, sad, and unapproachable....

Jealousy implies the fear of being displaced by a rival, or of being deprived of that which is rightfully ours or of that which we think ought to be ours. Jealousy is anther form of envy. Jealousy has to do with our own possessions, whereas envy has to do with the possessions of others. We resent an intrusion upon that which belongs to us, and we are prone to become vengeful at this disregard of our rights and claims.

Jealousy goes a step further than envy; it not only tries to lessen the good opinion others enjoy and criticizes those who are praised and rewarded, but is characterized by an excessive love of our own personal good and brings on a fear that we will be deprived of it. Jealousy prefers to see good left undone rather than lose a single degree of praise.

(Excerpt from The Hidden Power of Kindness by Father Lawrence Lovasik, Sophia Institute Press, 1999, pp.62-63) Share


Anonymous said...

Excellent post for me as I prepare for confession!
Terry of Abbey

Unknown said...

I never realized that there was a major distinction between the two before.

Friday Evening at St Helena's, Father Kasel of St Agnes parish gave us the Seven Deadly Sins rundown, just in case we in attendance thought we had nothing to confess.

And yesteday at St Agnes at the Catholic Parents' retreat, Father Altier pressed home the point, reminding us, as he is wont to do, that frequent confession, even of the same old venial sins each time is good for the soul for it strengthens us against the possibility of falling into mortal sin.

Rare is the message delivered by Father A. that doesn't include a reference to Hell or Mortal Sin. And I for one, appreciate that. Forewarned is forearmed!

elena maria vidal said...

I appreciate such sermons, too, Ray. Yes, frequent confession is good for the soul.