Saturday, April 18, 2015

Capital Sins and Mercy

In the  Peace Weekly Column the writer brings to our attention the seven capital sins which has  always been an important concern in the spiritual life of the  sensitive Catholic: pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony anger and sloth.

Our  ancestors of the faith in Korea were familiar with the book of Diego de Pantoja (1571-1618) Seven Victories over the Seven Capital Sins. This book gave the antidote for ridding ourselves of the seven capital sins and was influential in the spiritual life of the first Christians of Korea. They followed right reason and the laws of nature in practicing the virtues with little difficulty because of the Confucian traditions with which they were familiar.

They found in the  makeup of Jesus and his public life-- the unlimited  gift of mercy he wanted to give us. In today's world it is difficult to experience and  practice mercy.

The writer says he begins with himself in not being familiar with the capital sins. Pride is see in all aspects of his life. not only is he stingy but greedy, lazy and quick to envy and gets angry. I am number one, in the presence of the strong and influential he is humble but with those who are in his eyes lower in social status he can be cold, discriminating and not notice them. Money is a cause of abuse, with a little too much to drink he can be overcome with false bravery, and consider himself different from others.  But when he comes to his senses he realizes that he is in the service of an idol and in need of mercy. 

In today's world  everything is controlled by money,  and the capital sins are no longer evil habits but the standard for what makes the world go round. Living in a society with unlimited competition, not seen as something bad-- there is a need to trample others-- the capital sins are necessary.  

The Church itself has become infected with this kind of thinking. The treatment of the handicapped, the hiring of irregular workers for the church, are  examples of this thinking. We are told by the higher clergy that to search for peace of mind in our religion is not a good, and we have  8 out of 10 who do not attend Mass on Sunday. Catholics are not only at Mass to receive the grace from the sacraments but also to hear words of consolation from the  priests.  Reasons for the low Mass attendance need not be spelled out....

Pope Francis  is appealing for mercy from all of us. A necessary condition for this to happen is to rid ourselves of the vices and work with the seven  virtues that have to  become part of us. Mercy comes with the disposition of  welcoming  our brothers and sisters and not money.  

We need to rid  ourselves of discrimination, he concludes,  and have a welcoming desire for a new heaven and a new earth, and begin living like humans.