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How to overcome the Seven Cardinal (Capital, Deadly) Sins using the 7 cardinal virtues.

How to overcome the Seven Cardinal (Capital, Deadly) Sins using the 7 cardinal virtues.

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The Seven cardinal (capital,deadly) sins are the grouping or classification of vices or sins into 7 main sins in which other sins falls into. They give rise to other sins. The seven cardinal sins are pride, envy, greed, gluttony, lust, anger and sloth.

These seven vices are considered so dangerous because they lead directly to other sins and further immoral behaviour such as adultery, murder and theft etc.

There’s also seven virtues which where listed that can overcome the seven cardinal sins and they are (1) humility, (2) charity, (3) chastity, (4) gratitude, (5) temperance, (6) patience, and (7) diligence.

The seven virtues were originally defined in the poem Psychomachia by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, a Christian governor who died around 410 AD. Due to the spread of the poem, the concept and idea of the seven virtues spread throughout Europe.

In this article we will be explaining the Deadly sins and The virtues that overcomes them.

History of the Deadly(Cardinal,Capital) sins.

Earlier the Egyptian Christians stated and taught that there are 9 deadly sins. There teaching where influenced by the neoplatonist teachings of the school of Alexandria which stated that the human being is composed of three things the body, the soul, and the mind. The nine deadly sins was categorized in this form below.

  • physical (thoughts produced by the nutritive, sexual, and acquisitive appetites)
  • emotional (thoughts produced by depressive, irascible, or dismissive moods)
  • mental (thoughts produced by jealous/envious, boastful, or hubristic states of mind)

In the 4th century a monk called Evagrius Ponticus reduced it to eight and his list where

  • Gula (gluttony)
  • Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
  • Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  • Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • Ira (wrath)
  • Acedia (sloth)
  • Vanagloria (vainglory)
  • Superbia (pride, hubris)

In the 6th century, Pope Gregory 1 revised the list and wrote the now standard 7 list of deadly sins. Later in the 13 century, St Thomas Aquinas elaborated Gregory’s list calling them the Capital sins because they are the head of other sins.

The seven Cardinal sins and Virtues to over come them.

Pride

The first of the seven cardinal sins is pride. While humility and modesty are positive traits, pride is excessive confidence in oneself and one’s abilities. It is often accompanied by feelings of superiority, condescending or contemptuous feelings toward others, and a lack of gratitude for what one has. Pride can lead to other sins such as envy, greed, and even gluttony, as one may have unending desires for more money, power, and status. People who are prideful are often uncooperative, unwilling to admit when they are wrong or have made a mistake. The virtue to overcome pride is Humility.

Envy

The next of the seven cardinal sins is envy. Envy is a desire to have something that belongs to someone else. It is often coupled with resentment or anger toward the person who has what the envious person desires. Envy can lead to greed, as the envious person may try to take what they want by force or trickery. It can also lead to hatred, as the feelings of resentment and anger may become so strong that they morph into full-blown hatred of the person whose assets or abilities are envied. Envy is closely tied to insecurity, and people who struggle with this vice often feel inadequate and unconfident. They may also feel unworthy of what they have. Envy can be overcome by the this Virtue Gratitude also love, joy, thankfulness, compassion, satisfaction.

Greed

Greed is an excessive desire for material wealth or more material possessions. Like envy, greed can lead to theft, and it can also lead to feelings of superiority toward others and a sense of entitlement — a feeling that one is owed all the things one desires. Greed can also lead to feelings of discontent, as the greedy person never has enough money to feel satisfied. Greed can be overcome by practicing generosity, even in small ways. Giving to Charity, helping a friend in need, or giving up your seat on the bus are all ways to fight greed.

Gluttony

Gluttony is an excessive desire for food and drink, often coupled with a lack of self-control when consuming those things. Gluttony is not simply eating one’s fill after a long day at work; it is an excessive and obsessive desire to consume food and drink. Gorging on food or drink is a dangerous vice not just because it can lead to health problems like obesity and diabetes, but also because it can lead to feelings of guilt. When people gorge themselves, they often experience regret and wish that they had eaten less, or not at all. Gorging on food and drink can be overcome by practicing moderation. Eat smaller portions of food, and try to eat more slowly, so that you feel full before you have eaten too much. The virtue to overcome Gluttony is Temperance.

Lust

The next of the seven deadly sins is lust. Desire can be a positive thing — it can motivate us to achieve great things. However, like all of the cardinal sins, desire can be taken too far and become unhealthy(Lust). Lust can lead people to commit adultery, theft, and even murder. In extreme cases, people with an unending desire for power have killed millions of people in order to fulfill their desires for money, fame, and power. Lust can be overcome by practicing contentment. Recognize when you are driven by lust, and instead direct your focus and energy toward goals that are healthy and achievable. Chastity can be used to overcome lust especially of the flesh.

Anger

Anger is, perhaps, the most obvious of all the seven deadly sins. It is an intense feeling of displeasure or hostility toward another person or group of people. Anger is often accompanied by a desire to harm the person or group who has angered the angry person. Gretchen Rubin, in her book, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” likens anger to a fire. If a fire is left to burn unchecked, it will eventually consume the whole house. If anger is unchecked, it will consume the person who feels it and anyone who comes into contact with the angry person. When anger is allowed to build up inside a person, it can lead to feelings of depression and even thoughts of suicide. Anger can be overcome by Meekness.

Sloth

Finally, the last of the seven deadly sins is sloth. Sloth is a lack of interest or desire to do anything. It can also be a lack of motivation or enthusiasm for one’s job or responsibilities also disinterest in spiritual matters or neglecting spiritual growth. Sloth does not always lead to evil deeds, but it can be harmful to a person’s well-being and those around them. Sloth can lead to feelings of laziness and discontent, and it can also lead to depression. It can be harmful for both personal and professional relationships when one person feels too uninterested to participate or contribute to the relationship. Sloth can be overcome by setting realistic goals and taking small steps toward achieving them. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by tasks like “become healthier” or “get promoted at work,” but breaking these things down into smaller steps makes them seem more manageable. The Virtue to overcome Sloth is Diligence.

Summary

The seven deadly sins are all forms of excessive or harmful behaviour. Pride, envy, greed, gluttony, lust, anger and sloth are all excessive behaviours that lead to sin. They can be harmful to the person committing the sin and others around them. In order to avoid committing these sins, one must be mindful of their actions and their motivations behind those actions. If you feel that you fall victim to one or more of these vices often, read on for information about each one and how to overcome it. The seven deadly sins are best combated by the seven cardinal virtues. The virtues are (1) humility, (2) charity, (3) chastity, (4) gratitude, (5) temperance, (6) patience, and (7) diligence.

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