BEWARE OF ENVY AND ITS EVIL CONSEQUENCES!
RATHER, HUMBLY REJOICE IN THE GOOD OF OTHERS!
The meme you see is Léon Cogniet’s painting on the “Massacre of the Innocents (1824)”, which as we all know, was the result of Herod’s greed and envy towards the Child Jesus who had just been born and regarded by the Magi as the King of Israel.
In his morning Mass at Santa Marta last January 21, Pope Francis said that those who have the sin of envy in their hearts are always tormented. Furthermore, the capital sin of envy has insidious consequences which could lead to desire the evil of others if one consents to them.
It could be helpful to review some points of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding envy:
2538 The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. When the prophet Nathan wanted to spur King David to repentance, he told him the story about the poor man who had only one ewe lamb that he treated like his own daughter and the rich man who, despite the great number of his flocks, envied the poor man and ended by stealing his lamb. Envy can lead to the worst crimes. “Through the devil’s envy death entered the world”:
We fight one another, and envy arms us against one another. . . . If everyone strives to unsettle the Body of Christ, where shall we end up? We are engaged in making Christ’s Body a corpse. . . . We declare ourselves members of one and the same organism, yet we devour one another like beasts.
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.” “FROM ENVY ARE BORN HATRED, DETRACTION, CALUMNY, JOY CAUSED BY THE MISFORTUNE OF A NEIGHBOR, AND DISPLEASURE CAUSED BY HIS PROSPERITY.”
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.
Dear friends, let us reject whatever manifestation of envy which corrodes human relationships, create divisions among persons and could lead to grave consequences like backbiting, defamation, slander, calumny, physical and moral violence or even assassination (Cain killing Abel, Saul scheming the death of David, Herod assassinating the innocent children, the death of Jesus out of the envy of the Pharisees).
Let us ask God to help us be humble to rejoice in the good of the others through the intercession of Our Mother Mary, Most Humble.
Below you have some ideas of Pope Francis’ homily last Jan. 20 at Santa Marta regarding the evil of envy.
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The Pope said this today during morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, on the Feast of St. Agnes.
Drawing from the 1st Reading, which tells of Saul’s jealousy of David, the Pope noted: “How ugly envy is! It is an attitude, it is an ugly sin. And jealousy or envy grows in the heart like a weed: it grows, but it doesn’t allow good plants to grow. It harms everything that its shadow seems to fall upon.”
The Holy Father reflected that an envious person can never feel peace: “There is no peace! It is a tormented heart, it is an ugly heart!”
What’s more, the Pontiff continued, envy leads to killing, to death. “And Scripture says clearly: through the envy of the devil, death entered the world.”
“Envy kills,” the Pope explained. “It does not tolerate others having something that I do not have. And it always suffers, because the heart of an envious or jealous person suffers. It is a suffering heart!”
It is a suffering that desires “the death of others.”
“But how many times,” he asked, “in our communities – and we don’t have to look too far to see this – are people killed, through jealousy, with the tongue? Someone is envious of this, of the other, and they begin to gossip – and gossip kills”:
“I too, thinking and reflecting on this passage, invite myself – and everyone – to see if, in my heart, there is any jealousy, any envy, which always leads to death and doesn’t make me happy; because this sickness always leads us to regard the good others possess as if it were against us. And this is an ugly sin. It is the beginning of many, many crimes. Let us ask the Lord to give us the grace not to open the heart to jealousy, not to open the heart to envy, because these things always lead to death.”
Jesus handed over out of envy
Pope Francis concluded by noting that Jesus was handed over to Pontius Pilate because of the envy of the chief priests and the scribes:
“According to the interpretation of Pilate – who was very intelligent, but a coward – envy was what lead to the death of Jesus: the instrument, the ultimate instrument. They handed him over out of envy. Let us also ask the Lord the grace never, because of envy, to hand over to death a brother, a sister of the parish, of the community, or even someone in our neighbourhood. Everyone has their sins, everyone has their virtues. They are specific to each individual. Look at the good, and do not kill with gossip through envy or jealousy.”