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The Seven Capital Sins: #6 Sloth

Fr. Michael Sliney gives practical tips on how to overcome the vice of sloth in our lives.
by Fr. Michael Sliney, LC | Source:
This week we will focus on the sin or sloth.  Bishop Fulton Sheen describes sloth as, “A malady of the will which causes us to neglect our duties. It is physical when it manifests itself in laziness, procrastination, idleness, softness, indifference and nonchalance. It is spiritual when it shows itself  in an indifference to character betterment, a distaste for the spiritual, a hurried crowding of devotions, a lukewarmness and failure to cultivate new virtue.” (The Seven Capital Sins, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 65)   
A Winning Strategy for Inner Peace and Authenticity:

1.  Sacraments and Prayer 
-   Lots of Eucharist and regular Confession (at least once a month): you cannot overcome your laziness without the help of God’s grace.
-   Pray a Decade of the rosary every day for a greater diligence.

2. “The Charity of Christ urges us on.” (2 Cor. 5: 14):  This personal, passionate, and real love for Christ will be the only motivation strong enough to overcome and overpower this “malady of the will.”

3. Learn to see the difficulties and crosses of everyday life as opportunities to “offer it up” for a good intention:   “There used to be a form of devotion—perhaps less practiced today but quite widespread not long ago—that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love.” (Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI, n. 40)

4. Form the habit of doing what “needs to be done” before what you would prefer to do:  Before going to bed, make a concrete schedule of your activities for the next day with times and places, putting your “needs” in front of your “preferences.” 

5. To never accept the sophism that you are just fine as you are with no need to change:  Christ himself said: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  We all need to look to Christ as our ideal and change those aspects which are preventing him from loving others through our lives.  A week-end retreat (spiritual exercises) is very helpful to create this disposition.  

6. Make time for prayer, with an emphasis on visits to the Eucharist: “For He is in the midst of us day and night; He dwells in us with the fullness of grace and of truth. (68) He raises the level of morals, fosters virtue, comforts the sorrowful, strengthens the weak and stirs up all those who draw near to Him to imitate Him, so that they may learn from his example to be meek and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interests but those of God.”  (Mystery of Faith, Pope Paul VI, n. 66,67)

Email Fr. Michael at:

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Published by: QsXNVmSULiOqhUxq
Date: 2012-08-04 04:54:01
about Chesterton and you're absolutely right that he wasn't a silnet witness. He was very vocal. What made him different? I think it's that he never appealed to popular culture and never tried to gain followers. His true value lies in his unshakeable common sense in a world that had gone mad (still has). Everything he's written reads like something we've known deep down but forgotten. His words are, for me at least, like an aha! moment, but not aha, now I know something I didn't , more like, aha, now I understand something I've always known. I guess what I'm saying is that he used Truth to evangelize, but in my experience of reading him he comes at it not from a This is God and He is true angle but a this is Truth and it will take you to God angle. That makes a difference to certain people. To others, they will need to see it the other way around. Does that make sense?I agree with all the points about evangelization needing to be personalized depending on the person. As far as Fulton Sheen, I'm not gonna lie, if a priest got into my cab and asked me about the state of my soul I would start crying. But if a lay person got into my cab and asked me about the state of my soul I would ask them to get right back out again. Priests have a certain power about them (I've written about it before) that laypeople don't, and when laypeople try to act like priests or address concerns about people that really should only be between that person, their confessor, and God, they come off looking and sounding like self-righteous holy rollers. To me, at least. Maybe others see it differently. Titus, I see what you're saying (although I'm not going to lie, I had to read your comment a few times before I could work it out. You write like my husband). I actually disagree with you, though, that invasiveness, emotiveness, and exuberance are feminine models of behavior. Certainly they've traditionally been found more in women in the last two hundred years, but I, as a woman, have always been uncomfortable with invasiveness and forced exuberance. Not emotiveness, because I emote with the best of them. The incredible explosion in invasiveness and emotiveness is probably a result of the last thirty years of self-esteem conditioning, coupled with the lack of privacy with which we live our lives now (online, for all to see). And while I understand your point about living in a wasteland, I would argue that fifty years is not remotely enough time in which to destroy all ideals of masculinity. At the very least, masculinity has been under attack for the last two hundred years (along with femininity), but I would say that the roots of the modern disconnect between men and masculinity and between women and femininity date back to the Reformation, when we suddenly learned that what we are is essentially evil. Since then, men and women have been struggling to either reject themselves because they are so depraved or struggling to reconcile a proper understanding of the essential goodness of the human person with a world which tells them that it does not exist.

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