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Spiritual Envy


The sixth capital sin to be considered is spiritual envy.  The Mystical Doctor points out that many spiritual beginners “will feel sad about the spiritual good of others,” especially when they realize that these others are ahead of them in the spiritual life. (DN, Bk. I, Ch. 7, No. 1)  Since “they long for preference in everything” they become sad and upset, angry and annoyed, when the virtues or spirituality of others is acknowledged or extolled but they themselves are not praised, applauded or complimented. (Ibid.)  Out of spiritual envy, like the devil, they may even try to harm these others in some way (for example, their reputation or spiritual advancement).  This is contrary to Christian charity as we read in Sacred Scripture:  “Charity does not envy.  Or, “Love is not jealous, by another translation. (1 Cor. 13:4)  Also, charity (love) “does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right”—that is, in goodness and truth. (1 Cor. 13:6)  Christian love will lead us to rejoice in the spiritual progress of others, in the graces they have received and in the virtues they possess.  We will be happy that they are ahead of us in the spiritual life and only wish that we could be as good as they are.  But in the end it is, “God’s will be done.”  God has a perfect plan for everyone in the order of Divine Providence.  To lovingly accept and not regret our present circumstances, both human and spiritual, is true wisdom and freedom, for God has allowed or brought about everything for our good and salvation, as well as those of others.  When the time is right, He will enable us to change the interior or exterior circumstances of our lives, or they will change themselves by the grace and providence of God.  The key is faith and humility, loving gratitude and charity.


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