The Sin of Sloth

Ok, time to get back to writing in the blog. Yes, I admit it, I am lazy sometimes, and that is unacceptable. After all, God gave me the talent to write, maybe not very good, but He did give me some, and I need to use it. After all the sin of sloth is one of the seven deadly sins.

A quick definition of sloth would be “being lazy”. A more complete definition from the Catholic Encyclopedia is:

One of the seven capital sins. In general it means disinclination to labour or exertion. As a capital or deadly vice St. Thomas (II-II:35) calls it sadness in the face of some spiritual good which one has to achieve (Tristitia de bono spirituali). Father Rickaby aptly translates its Latin equivalent acedia (Gr. akedia) by saying that it means the don’t-care feeling.

Now I know this definition is more directed to “spiritual laziness” but it can also be directed to any other laziness as well. Everything we have is given to us by God. Whether it is talent, money, family, material goods, it doesn’t matter. Oh, we might think we are the ones who have received these things because of our hard work, ant to some extent this is true. But it all starts with what we are given by God. He is the one who created us. (At this time I won’t get into the argument of creation versus evolution, but I believe our soul comes from God, and it is the soul which drives us.)

God gets us started and it is up to us to develop whatever God endows us with. We all have been given something, and it is up to us to figure out exactly what it is and then to make it work. When we don’t do this, figure out what talent or talents God has given us, this is sloth. It is a sin to not use our God given talents.

It is true some people use these talents for evil things, but then we must remember God has also given us free will. Free will and whether or not we really have it has been debated by philosophers for as long as there have been philosophers. Each philosophical theory (now there are some big words) has its own definition of free will, but I tend to go with Thomas Aquinas’ which is written in the “Summa Theologica“:

I answer that, Man has free-will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards, and punishments would be in vain. In order to make this evident, we must observe that some things act without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will.

How we use our judgement is what makes us what we are. I know I haven’t always used good judgement in the past, and I honestly believe, after much soul searching, meditation and contemplation (there I go again using some more multi-syllable words) most of these bad decisions all stem from one bad decision. that was my decision to not listen to God, to not follow His teachings or the teachings of the church. I believed I knew better than Jesus and that was that.

Can I in any way prove this? Can I prove that had I followed the teachings of God and had I now left the church that my life wouldn’t have been different? No, but I believe it would have been. I can already see the differences in my life over the past few years when I started my journey back. I can see a difference in my attitude, my thinking and my outlook on life. And I know had I had this attitude 40 years ago, yes, my life would have been different.

Now back to the sloth thing.

If we do not use our talents, those that God has given us, it is a sin. And if, like me, we are called to use them for specific reasons, and don’t, this is a bigger sin. And finally, if we go to Confession (one of those uniquely Catholic things) and confess that we aren’t using our talents even after we believe God has called us to, and the priest gives us as our penance that we must write something every day, and we don’t, well that is really, really bad.

So, yes, I am doing my penance for being slothful, but that’s okay, I really don’t mind.

One thought on “The Sin of Sloth

  1. Pingback: Are you Rolling the Dice | The Wayward Catholic

Please feel free to comment, we would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.