Thanksgiving, Humility, and 7 Deadly Sins

Theological Thursdays, IV

I’ve been taking a “virtual” retreat by using a few podcasts (I recommend the OYM Youth Ministers’ Retreat–scroll down on linked page).  As I personally struggle with the sin of pride, I found the reflections on humility pertinent. 

One of the priests on the podcast claimed that whatever your dominant sin, humility is one of the primary means you’ll overcome it.  He claimed the greatest thing you could do to grow in humility was to develop a habit of gratitude (Thanksgiving connection!). 

From the understanding of sin passed down by St. Thomas Aquinas, we know that all sin is fundamentally a distortion of something that is (in its proper place) good.  The good thing becomes a sin when you take it from the proper order of life–where it fits into the harmonious and balanced lifestyle–and allow it to dominate you in a disordered way.  Gratitude, and taking the time to thank God for the good given, has the power to put a potential temptation back in its proper place. 

Speaking of proper place, a different priest’s podcast spoke of the life of J.O.Y.  (“joy” C.S. Lewis once said, “is the serious business of heaven”).  J.O.Y. is what you find when you have ordered your life properly, placing J.esus first, O.thers second (Phillipians 2: 1-13), and Y.ourself third.  I wish the priest had explained that placing yourself third doesn’t mean running yourself ragged, or ignoring your own needs or desires, but the basic principle is in the right place.  Where most martyr-inclined people go wrong is in ignoring their needs.  Placing yourself third and ignoring yourself are two completely different things.  After all, the self–even the personal weaknesses and limitations we experience– are all also gifts from God, through which God’s glory and blessings can come to us (from others), and for which we should be very thankful. 

So that’s my reflection for Theological Thursday. 

Tomorrow…Black Friday!  Or as my brother put it, “After the night of Gluttony comes the morning of Greed!” 

blackflag.jpg

Yar!  Prepare yourselves for the vigorous pursuit of all 7 Deadly Sins!  Most especially those three consumer-friendly baddies–Greed, Envy, and Wrath.  I don’t know exactly how I’m going to play my first foray into the friday shopping frenzy.  I may simply not bathe before going out, thereby using a barrier of personal musk as a defense mechanism against crazed shoppers.  On the other hand, that could backfire and swamp me in swooning ladies. 

I could always gather my doughty crew of pirates, “eyepatch-up” and put the “Black” (flag) back in “Black Friday”.  

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