Monday, February 14, 2005


No, Kevin, not the animal.

Fr. Anthony Cirignani, our pastor at St. Anthony's, gave an excellent sermon on sloth this Sunday. (Maybe I should post this on Amy's website? Nah, I don't want to bother.) He mentioned that we mistakenly think that sloth means inactivity. In fact, especially in America we engage in frenetic activity because of sloth, because we are avoiding the real spiritual good that we ought to be pursuing such as service or spiritual exercise. So, hyperactivity and sloth can go together. I think that was Pascals' point about diversion as well.

This fits in very well with Fr. Spitzer's Life Principles that I have been mentioning a lot lately. He makes the point that pursuing happiness on the higher levels, service and and spiritual growth, often requires more effort and gives us less immediate and intense personal gratification. We therefore prefer to stick at the lower levels of either pleasure or ego gratification. That is why, for instance, those who discover that ego gratification cannnot give long-term happiness often resort to the lowest level of seeking physical pleasure--drinking, watching t.v., pornography, rather than responding to the call of God to move to a higher level of service and pursuit of the absolute good, true, beautiful, love, being, etc..

St. Thomas describes sloth as "sadness about one's spiritual good, on account of the attendant bodily labor." This is precisely what prevents us from moving from the second level to the third, even when we know it is the right thing. We are resisting the suffering involved. We are sad and afraid.

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