He was the most beautiful of all angels. He was referred to as the Day Star, and the son of Dawn. His name itself spoke of his brightness—Lucifer, angel of light. He dreamt of ascending the heavens and raising his throne above that of God's. But he was sent crashing down to the dark recesses of the pit for committing the greatest sin of all: Pride. That is what pride, described by theologians as the father of all sins, does to us. We end up going down even as we try to go up. It is also the most common…
Before we begin talking about lust, we need to talk a little about sex. Hugh Hefner didn't invent it. Neither did Hollywood. Nor the authors of the Kama Sutra. God created sex, and like everything He made it was beautiful. He didn't waste any time getting to it either. Merely two chapters into the Bible and we find Adam and Eve walking around naked, feeling no shame, at total ease with their own bodies and each other's. There was no reason for shame. They were the handiwork of God, created in His image and likeness. Then the devil got into…
Evagrius of Pontus, a Christian monk and ascetic whose ideas may have inspired St John Cassian's list of eight sins (see Preface), gives us a very poetic, but comprehensive definition of the sin of gluttony: "Gluttony is the mother of lust, the nourishment of evil thoughts, laziness in fasting, obstacle to asceticism, terror to moral purpose, the imagining of food, sketcher of seasonings, unrestrained colt, unbridled frenzy, receptacle of disease, envy of health, obstruction of the (bodily) passages, groaning of the bowels, the extreme of outrages, pollution of the intellect, weakness of the body, difficult sleep, and gloomy death." Scripture…
In the rain forests of Central and South America dwells a small ugly looking mammal called a sloth. This little creature is so sedentary that algae grows on its furry coat. When it moves—which is rarely, since it spends 20 hours a day sleeping—it travels at a top speed of 0.15 mph. When we think of the sin of sloth, the image of this creature is what probably comes to mind, hanging from a tree branch with its three toes, or possibly that of a beer guzzling slob sprawled out on a couch in front of the television set in…
One hot evening in the summer of 2002, in a severe outburst of drunken rage, I smashed up my house, beat up my wife, roused up half the neighborhood and created assorted havoc before the cops finally came and took me away. As God finally opened my eyes to the reality of His existence—and His love—in jail (see The Return of the Prodigal), I didn't regret the time I spent behind bars, but I deeply regretted the acts of violence that put me there, and was determined to never again give into the anger that precipitated it. It took me…
Leo Tolstoy once wrote a story about a successful peasant farmer who was not satisfied with his lot. He wanted more of everything. One day he received a novel offer. For 1000 rubles, he could buy all the land he could walk around in a day. The only catch in the deal was that he had to be back at his starting point by sundown. Early the next morning he started out walking at a fast pace. By midday he was very tired, but he kept going, covering more and more ground. Well into the afternoon he realized that his…
History tells of a statue that was erected to Theogenes, a celebrated victor in the Greek public games. The erection of this statue so excited the envious hatred of one of his rivals that he went every night and strove to throw the statue over by repeated blows. Ultimately he succeeded, but alas, the statue fell upon him, and he was crushed to death beneath it. Such generally is the end of the man who allows himself to be carried away by the spirit of envy. St. Thomas Aquinas defines envy as "sorrow or sadness over another's good because that…