40 DAYS TO FREEDOM
DAY 22

To Conquer Envy

St. Augustine identified envy as "the diabolical sin”. We know that all sin comes forth from the evil one so why does St. Augustine make such a unique distinction for this vice?

Like many common iniquities, envy usually finds its beginnings in a more subtle form: jealousy. For example, if you’re neighbor has a really nice car or refreshing swimming pool and it drives you to wish you had one, that is jealousy. Seemingly harmless as first, unchecked jealousy can quickly take it to the next level and really start to do damage. Not only do you want what others have and maybe even seek to acquire it unjustly, but you wish they didn’t have it at all and would even desire for harm to fall upon them in order that it be taken away all together. Even if you cannot have what they have, you would be happy if something bad happened to their gift or possession, as in their new car gets scratched, or worse yet, involved in a car accident. A diabolical, wicked sin indeed!

“God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it” (Wisdom 2:23-24).

Satan exists eternally envious of humanity! God created mankind in his image and likeness and made us for everlasting life. Mere mortals we are, whom the angels (even fallen angels) tower above in intellect. So why such envy? Some have questioned whether it was specifically the communion of persons, this deep union between man and woman in which we reflect God’s Trinitarian image that Satan was envious of.

“God in his deepest mystery is not a solitude, but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of a family, which is love” (St. John Paul II). He bestows on us the dignity to participate in this deepest of mysteries, the communion of life-giving love. From the very beginning, this was granted to Adam and Eve; but in his insatiable envy, Satan literally could not stand it. Longing to take away this gift at all costs, he will kill, steal and destroy to eliminate our inheritance. Rejoicing (if you can call it that) when we suffer and our harmonious union is shattered.


Sobered by this newfound understanding of the spiritual warfare at hand, let us honestly look within ourselves and assess this particular imperfection once again:

• Do I envy or experience jealousy regarding the ability, talents, ideas, good-looks, intelligence, clothes, possessions, money, friends, family, of others?
• Am I saddened or frustrated at the success of others?
• Do I judge others in my thoughts, words or actions?
• Do I damage the reputation of others by my words or actions?
• Do I fail to defend the reputation of others?

 “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous…” (1 Cor 13:4). Thankfully the sins of the world (greed and envy) can be overcome through the virtue affectionately known as charity. Charity, in efficacious and convincing fashion, conquers any roots of envy in our hearts. “Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity…”(CCC 2540).

Jesus calls us to a much deeper standard than by simply not being envious towards one another, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

As disciples of Christ, we have no room for jealousy or envy in our hearts. Leading to bitterness, resentment, depression and distress, it aims to isolate and enslave us. To love more fully is to enter into greater freedom.


OUR PATHWAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS: DAY 22

• Pray for the grace to love your neighbors as Christ loves you and wish nothing but the best for them.
• Offer praise and thanksgiving to God every day for the gifts you have received.
• Celebrate the success of others and stop viewing life as a competition.

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OUR PATHWAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS: DAY 22

• Pray for the grace to love your neighbors as Christ loves you and wish nothing but the best for them.
• Offer praise and thanksgiving to God every day for the gifts you have received.
• Celebrate the success of others and stop viewing life as a competition.


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