Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Virtues and Vices

 Last Week

Virtues and vices go with the duality of the spirit.  I remember having to memorize both the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Godly Virtues in my days as a Catholic Schoolgirl (tm).  Almost everyone knows the seven deadly sins thanks to Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey.  The virtues are always a bit harder.  But, when you look at them, it's just common sense.  Most religions simply tell us what we already know, but need to hear nevertheless. 

The Operative: What is your sin?
Mal: Aw hell, I'm a fan of all seven.  But for now, I'm going to have to go with wrath.
- Serenity

Lust, Wrath, Greed, Gluttony, Pride, Envy and Sloth.  The Seven Deadly Sins.  That's a scary name for these items. The names themselves sound horrible, using the words that have the most negative connotations attached to them.  Wrath instead of anger, lust instead of desire, and sloth instead of laziness. It is designed, in part, to make us feel better about ourselves, because we are all guilty of following those sins.  I have reveled in feelings of anger and let them overcome common sense at times.  And we've all experienced lust, though not necessarily in a sexual way.  Have you wanted a higher position in your job and been willing to step on someones fingers to climb that ladder?  Have you wanted something so bad you could taste it and been willing to do anything to get it?  Well then, hello lust. 

The virtues, on the other hand, are more difficult to remember.  Humility, Mercy, Chastity, Patience, Love, Temperance and Fortitude.  They are a reminder that too much of a good thing becomes bad.  It's fine to take pride in your work, but you have to be humble enough to accept that there are things you can't do.  It's fine to want more, but that wanting needs to be balanced out with an acceptance that there are certain things you can't have or are not good for you.  People have a more difficult time remembering them because we are hardwired to pay attention to the things that are bad for us.  It's the adrenaline rush that goes with being bad. 

We like to think of ourselves as creatures that are normally morally good.  But we do need to embrace and accept the not so good side as well.  That dark side has enabled us to survive as a species.  I'm not suggesting that you give in to every whim that crosses your mind, nor am I saying that it's OK to screw over your fellow man to get ahead.  I am saying use common sense.  For the most part, we know right from wrong because our society has instilled it in us.  Follow your heart, and if you have to stop and ask yourself if you've gone too far, chances are you probably have.

Next Week

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