• The next Dads’ Prayer Group meeting is this Sunday, November 10, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All dads are invited!
• Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday, November 26, at 2:05 PM.
• The school’s annual Advent Lessons and Carols will be on December 15, at 7:00 PM. Mark your calendar now. A reception will follow.
• Students are dismissed for Christmas break on December 20, at 12:30 PM. No one may leave early, since that week is also their first semester exams.
• Our first-round football playoff game is tomorrow (Saturday) at 2:35 PM, at St. Michael’s
• The Fall Sports Award Ceremony in on Sunday, November 17, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All are welcome to attend.
• Our first soccer game is November 19, at 2:00 PM, at Lake Forest Sports Park [28000 Rancho Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630].
Are you envious because I am generous? The words of Our Blessed Lord, which we just heard
in today’s Holy Gospel.
It is somewhat of a wonder that, out of the 10 Commandments which God has given to man, the last one—Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods—is so often neglected. Whether it be children studying their catechism, priests plumbing the depths of theology or the faithful examining their consciences before Confession, all seem to just gloss over this extremely important commandment, the breaking of which is so intimately united to the capital sin of envy. A sin which is so common nowadays that we do not even notice its presence among us.
St. Thomas Aquinas defines the sin of envy as, “a certain sadness which we feel at the good of another because that good surpasses our own.” These may be material goods like money or a nice house, they may be positions of authority or some sort of social status which another has received, or perhaps, even spiritual goods and graces given by God. Whatever the case may be, the envious person is sad to see his neighbor possess them—not because such things are evil, but because they seem to weaken the excellence of him who does not have them.
This sin of envy has been called by St. Augustine, “the diabolic sin” and even Sacred Scripture says that, “By the envy of the devil, sin came into the world” (Wis 2:24). For Satan, having lost Paradise and all the graces which God had given him, could not stand to see man possess what he himself did not; and so strove to bring down Adam and Eve to his own degraded level. This is exactly what the envious person does. Moved by pride and an inordinate desire for another’s goods, and being saddened because he himself does not have them, he endeavors to do all he can to bring down the other: by rumors, lies, making known the other’s faults, cruel jokes—he stops at nothing. And so this one sin of envy, which quietly creeps in on us, gives birth to a host of other sins against charity, and hence, it is ranked among the 7 Capital Sins. If one gives full consent to this envy in his heart, he commits a grave sin and, therefore, by weeping over what he does not possess--another’s goods, he loses something which was already his—something far more precious, namely, sanctifying grace and the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity.
Indeed, when we think about it, it is amazing that we can fall into this sin of envy at all; for, as Catholics, God has already bestowed upon us so much! He has redeemed us by His Passion and Death, He has given us Heaven as our inheritance, He dwells within our very souls from the moment of Baptism, at every Mass we are united to Him in His Sacrificial Death and we are given for food His Own Body and Blood. Having received so much from Our Infinitely Generous Lord, how could we possibly envy the goods of another? And yet this sin is so common today: the man who spreads rumors about his neighbor because he cannot accept the fact that his neighbor brings home a bigger paycheck than he, the woman who calls God’s Church “unjust” because she cannot be a priest, the student who ridicules another because he finds himself surpassed in intelligence, the parishioner who refuses to help out in the parish just because he was not given a position of authority. All are guilty of envy, all are in some way saddened because another possesses a good which they themselves do not, all can be compared to those workmen in today’s Gospel, who were envious because God had been generous toward another.
The sin of envy destroys our relationship with both God and neighbor. Can there be a greater sign of ingratitude towards God than to not be content with all that He has given us and feel somehow neglected on account of His generosity towards another? Can we show less love for our neighbor than to be actually saddened at the good that God has given him just because we desire to be greater than he?
On the other hand, how pleased God is to see a heart full of gratitude! So pleased that, St. Gertrude, who in order to fight-off the sin of envy used to constantly thank God for the goods which others possessed, was told by Him in a vision that, because of her gratitude for the gifts which others had received, He later bestowed those same graces upon her.
We ought to follow St. Gertrude’s example and take a few minutes everyday and consider all the good that God has bestowed upon us as well as upon our neighbor and thank Him for it. We should even see the trials that He allows us to go through as opportunities to grow in holiness and as sources containing “hidden blessings” which we will receive if only we accept such trials with humility, resignation and gratitude.
And finally, we must reflect on what we heard in today’s first reading, namely, that, “God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts and His ways are not the ways of the world.” For, the world says, “Achieve success at all costs!”; God says, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” In the eyes of the world, “Might is right!” and “The weak are worthless!”; but before God,--as the Latin inscription reads at the entrance of this church—“To the humble is given God’s goodness, to the proud His retribution.”
As we continue this Holy Mass, ask God to help you resist temptation to that diabolic sin of envy, by humbly accepting with a heart full gratitude all that He has given you, by seeing His goodness in the gifts which He has bestowed upon others, by recalling always that His ways are not the ways of the world, and so come to share forever in the supreme gift which He has offered to us all—the Beatific Vision, where the just will receive eternal glory, each according to his own merits, each perfectly happy with what he will have received, each one adoring and thanking forever God, the Generous Giver of every good gift!
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.