Sloth & Zeal

On Sunday, we watched the Sloth & Zeal episode of Bishop Barron’s 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Lively Virtues. Bishop Barron define Sloth as sorrow to spiritual good, or spiritual indifference which can arise from the knocking down of the truths.

Our breakout sessions began with reading Psalm 73, which shows slothful people as being carefree and not caring about the final consequences of their actions. They have no care about the spiritual life or anything that has to do with God. In questioning God they raise themselves to the level of God. They are not particularly lazy in all other pursuits, but they are lazy in their pursuit of the spiritual.

The Psalmist notices how they get away with their spiritually nonchalant acts and is tempted to follow in their ways. “Is it in vain that I have kept my heart clean, washed my hands in innocence?” Fortunately the fate of the slothful is revealed to him when he enters the sanctuary of God. It is in worship that he recognised and fought off slothful temptations.

CCCs 2732 and 2733 explain that Presumption is “the act of taking for granted God’s mercy and assuming that He will always overlook our offenses.” It greatly affects our prayer life because we question the need for prayer if “God will take care of us anyway.” We become more susceptible to sin and temptation and our relationship with God becomes more distant.

Bishop Barron explained that in Dante’s Purgatory, the punishment for the slothful was endless running with Luke 1:39 repeatedly being read to them. Luke 1:39 says, “In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country.” (RSV) Mary’s quick response shows how we must immediately answer the call of God and begin working on our mission. She did not delay, but instead set out with a spiritual urgency. We were told to zealously work at discerning and praying for our earthly mission, which could be revealed to us if we regularly perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

We discussed how essential the corporal (bodily) and spiritual works of mercy are to our spiritual life. By performing them, we directly counter sloth and exhibit love for those in need. In response to one of the session’s questions, works of mercy are not strictly for “religious” people, neither are they to be done to only “religious” people. We are to care for everyone we come across in society and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are the substantial means we all must use to enter the Kingdom of God.

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