A few years back I wouldn't have written these posts on the seven deadly sins one right after the other. I think I probably would have become a bit discouraged at what I found and probably would have made a million excuses for my behavior. I'm good at that. As a matter of fact, I had to ask the Lord for the grace to take a good look at myself without getting upset because I really wanted the truth...but not truth without the mercy that is necessary for examining oneself. The point is to recognize where I need to
improve but to do it without anxiety, trusting that the Lord will provide the grace for an honest examination of my heart. I have learned the hard way that trying to push before it's time to push just stops all progress and sometimes causes despair. I have had to learn (and am still learning) to be gentle but firm with myself. To not be so spiritually greedy, wanting it all at once, but to slow down a bit and learn what the Lord is trying to teach me about both myself and Him.
Thinking about greed this week, I have realized that most of us live in a time and place where it's hard NOT to be greedy. We live in a society that breeds discontent. Companies promote a "must have" mentality through their advertising and sales tactics. What used to be "wants" have become "needs" and people are often judged today by what they have rather than who they are. While there is nothing wrong with having a few extras, do we really improve the quality of our lives when we add the "latest, greatest, thing" to our households? Or are we trying to distract ourselves in some way? Are we happier today than our grandparents were in the past?
The day after Thanksgiving has been termed "Black Friday" and when I consider this name I can't help but think how fitting it is. The fact that it comes right after Thanksgiving just seems to add to the day's darkness. There's something very ugly about Black Friday and something very sad too. Over the years, many stores have started opening up earlier and earlier and, now, some even open up their doors on Thanksgiving Day itself. Where does this frantic consumerism end?
I wonder what God thinks about Black Friday? I was wondering about that today after reading a post by another blogger. Food for thought. Instead of being thankful for what we have, we want more. Sounds like a good definition of greed, doesn't it?
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of greed:
~ lack of trust in God
~ a distrust of others
~ being dissatisfied with one's life
~ a pessimistic outlook on things
~ being manipulative
~ a worldly outlook and a spiritual dullness
~ stinginess (tightfisted with money and goods)
Greed's opposing virtue is liberality (generosity). The generous giving of one's time, money, or goods to those in need is the way to overcome greed. Praying for an increase in the virtue of charity is key when tackling this vice. I find praying the Rosary and reading Scripture very helpful when it comes to greed. It helps combat the spirit of worldliness that we carry.