Dec 15, 2009

The Sin of Greed

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Isaiah 56:11

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is the desire for material gain. "Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal or treason (especially for personal gain), scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, or manipulation of authority.

It is similar to Gluttony and Envy, but gain rather than consumption or possession is key. Thomas Aquinas condemned Greed because "it is a sin directly against one's neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, inasmuch as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."

Greed is self-serving. No one is ever greedy for something for someone else. Someone once asked a billionaire why he wanted more money when he was already rich, and he answered, "Because its there." No matter how much of anything a greedy person has, he has an insatiable appetite to want to more. Greed is covetousness, with covetousness being a foundation stone in all of the seven deadly sins.

There are at least three forms of greed:
1) an obsessive desire for ever more material goods and the attendant power.
2) a fearful need to store up surplus goods for a vaguely defined time of want.
3) a desire for more earthly goods for their own sake.

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be boiled alive in oil. Bear in mind that it's the finest, most luxurious boiling oil that money can buy, but it's still boiling.

To avoid this fate, you must practice

the Heavenly Virtue of Charity

Charity covereth a multitude of sins Peter 4:8

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 1 Corinthians 13:4

In Christian theology charity, or love (agapē), means an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others. The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it aptly: "Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God" (no. 1822).


Jamie D. said...

Is it greedy to want more time to read blogs? ;-) Another great post as usual, and major congrats on getting your laptop back!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

I'm greedy with my desire to get published and even though I'm no longer a practicing Catholic I still contribute to the funds for retired nuns so I HOPE I won't be made to boil in oil, no matter how luxurious.
This was brilliant. Thanks for sharing.
Warm regards,

C R Ward said...

Jamie: I'd never believe it's greedy to want more time for any kind of reading. :-)

Simone: I don't have to worry about being boiled in oil, my sin is Wrath and the punishment is dismemberment. :-)

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