Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Overcoming The Capital Sins

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, on the Capital Sins


With regard to the Seven Capital Sins, after Additional Direction, the preparatory prayer should be made in the way prescribed, but with the modification that the object is the sins to be avoided, whereas before, it was the Commandments to be observed. In like manner the method prescribed, the regulation of the time, and the colloquy observed.


In order to understand better the faults committed that come under the Seven Capital Sins, let the contrary virtues be considered. See also, the better to avoid these sins, one should resolve to endeavor by devout exercises to acquire and retain the seven virtues contrary to them

How many are my inequities and sins? Make me know my crimes and offences.
Job xiii, 23

Pride conquered by humility.

For your power, O Lord, is not in a multitude, nor is your pleasure in the strength of horses, nor from the beginning have the proud been acceptable to you: but the prayer of the humble and meek have always pleased you. Judith ix, 16

For thou lightest my lamp, O Lord: O my God, enlighten my darkness Psalm xvii. 29

O God of the Heavens, creator of the waters, and lord of the whole creation, hear me a poor wretch, making supplications to you, and presuming of your mercy. Judith ix, 17

Greed conquered by generosity

A covetous man shall not be satisfied with money: and he that loves riches shall reap no fruit from them: so this also is vanity. Eccles v, 9

Show, O Lord, thy ways to me, teach me thy paths. Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art God, my Savior; and on thee have I waited all the day long. Psalms xxiv. 4, 5

Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly: And he who soweth in blessings. Every one as he has determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: or God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians ix, 6, 7

Envy conquered by love

For God created man incorruptible and to the image of his own likeness he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death came into this world: and they who follow him are of his side. Wisdom ii, 23 – 25

Send forth thy light and thy truth, they have conducted me, and brought me unto the holy hill, and into thy tabernacles.Psalms xlii. 3

For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son; that who so ever believes in him, may not parish, but have life everlasting. John iii, 16

Anger conquered by kindness

Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger…

Let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and clamor, and blasphemy, be put away from you, with all malice.Ephesians iv,26, 31

Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes, that I never sleep in death: Lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him. Psalm xii. 29

And be kind to one another; merciful, forgiving of one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ. Ephesians iv, 32

Lust conquered by self - control

Let us walk honestly in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscence’s.Romans xiii. 13, 14

Make the way known to me wherein I should walk: for I have lifted up my soul to thee… Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. Psalms cxlii 8, 10

For you have done manfully, and your heart has been strengthened, because you have loved chastity…: Therefore also the hand of the Lord hath strengthened you, and therefore you shall be blessed for ever. Judith xv, 11

Gluttony conquered by temperance

Are you set at a great table? Be not first to open your mouth upon it. Say not: There are many things which are upon it…. Stretch not out your hand first, lest being disgraced with envy, you be put into confusion. Be not hasty at a feast… Use as a frugal man the things that are set before you: lest if thou eat too much, you will be hated. Leave off first, for manners sake and exceed not, lest you offend. And if you are seated among many, reach not your hand out first of all: and be not the first to ask for drink. Ecclus xxxi, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19-21

And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, Saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. Luke xviii 40, 41

The meadows are open and the green herbs have appeared, and the hay is gathered out of the mountains. Lambs are from your clothing: and kids for the price of the field.

Let the milk of the goats be enough for your food, and for the necessities of your house, and for maintence for your handmaids. Proverbs xxvii 25, 26, 27

Sloth conquered by zeal

I passed by the field of the slothful man, and by the vineyard of the foolish man: and behold it was all filled with nettles, and thorns had covered the face there of, and the stone wall was broken down. Which when I had seen, I laid it up in my heart, and by example, I received instruction. You will sleep a little, said I, you will slumber a little, said I, you will fold your hands to rest: and poverty shall over come to your as a runner, and beggary as an armed man. Proverbs xxiv. 30-34

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us. That we may know thy ways upon earth; thy salvation in all nations. Psalm lxxvi 2, 3

But I most gladly will spend and be spent myself for your souls; although loving you more, I be loved less.2 Corinthians xii, 15

The 6 Sins against the Holy Ghost

  1. Presumption
  2. Despair
  3. Resisting the known truth
  4. Envy of another’s spiritual good
  5. Obstinacy in sin
  6. Final impenitence

The 9 Ways We Participate in Others’ Sins

  1. By counsel
  2. By command
  3. By consents
  4. By provocation
  5. By praise or flattery
  6. By concealment
  7. By partaking
  8. By silence
  9. By defense of the ill done

3 Conditions for Mortal Sin

  • Grave matter
  • Full knowledge
  • Deliberate consent

HT to Joseph, Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit


Marie said...

I have to admit that at times I have a tendency to speak before I pray which I must overcome...Heck I have so many faults and failings. DO pray for me John Michael:). An excellent post to review one's life patterns.

Peace to you & your family:)

Marie:) God bless you all

John Michael said...

Of course I will pray for you and all in need. I will use today's reading.

Eph 3:14-21

I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

My weakest area are temperance and pride.

Peace to you

Joseph Fromm said...

Dear John Micheal,

Thank you for posting my reflection on the Capital Sins. In light of that reflection I wrote this colloquy.

Colloquy on the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Contrary Virtues

Dear Lord, how many inequities are mine? Dear Lord, how will I know my offences? Unless, you give me the grace to see.

Dear Lord my pride has never been acceptable to you, neither has my strength or my desire for multitudes. But my prayers of humility and meekness are your oil, in the lamp of my soul, which you Lord, light, so that I may not live in darkness. God of heaven, God of the sea and Lord of all creation, I presume your mercy, as you presume my contrition, meekness and humility.

Dear Lord my greed propped up with my vanity only produces riches that bear no fruit. Lord, teach me your ways and lead me to your orchard’s path. So that the fruits I pick are of Your harvest and what I do not need, let me cheerfully give to another.

Dear Lord you created me in your perfect image and likeness, but by the envy of darkness, death came into the world. If I choose to follow that darkness I shall truly perish. Lord, send forth Your light and Your truth will lead me to the holy hill and there I await the light in your tabernacle. Lord You so loved the world that you sent Your only begotten Light. If I believe and follow your Light, I shall truly have everlasting life.

Dear Lord my anger is a sign of the bitterness, indignation, clamor and blasphemy. Lord let not the sun go down upon my malice, consider and hear me O Lord. Let the sun rise and enlighten my eyes, so that I will never sleep in death. At the birth of your Son was the moment of forgiveness of me. With your gift of true liberty, my mercifulness, forgiveness and kindness are the birth of emboldened liberty for my enemies.

Dear Lord you created love, for your sake alone, not for lewdness or to sicken my flesh. Lord make your will known to me, for my soul seeks a path to you. Lord strengthen my heart with courage, resolve and with a brave nobility, that in purity I find your strength and blessing.

Dear Lord because I have and will hate your gifts, I will reach out my hand first, fill my mouth the fastest, and take another’s seat. Lord as You stand before me and ask me what I find truly nourishing. Give me the grace to respond, “That I see thee.” Lord your gifts I shall find in the open meadows with green herbs in abundance and the harvest I shall gather in your mountains. I shall reap only what I need for my house and show others direction to your bounty.

Dear Lord my fields and vineyards are filled with prickly nettles and my fence has fallen. Lord, have mercy on me and show me the light of your salvation, so that I may tend your fields and vineyards and when my energy has been spent, give me a place to rest where I can fold my hands. When I arise I shall with a strengthened heart, repair your fallen fence.

Dear Lord with your gift of my true liberty, I shall desire by your grace to conquer vice with overwhelming virtue. May your hand touch all things I touch. Dear Lord with your gift of my will, I shall desire by grace the perseverance to conquer my desire to do evil and my repugnance for good, with your grace to conquer vice with overwhelming desire to love as you love and as I love your more, I may be loved less. Dear Lord with your gift of remembrance, I shall desire life long lessons that shall strengthen my resolve to seek virtue with overwhelming humility and meekness. By your grace You allow me to forget my transgressions so that I will retain my nobility to serve you bravely.




John Michael said...


You make St. Ignatius proud.