We’ve all heard of the seven deadly sins, I hope?
Just to remind you, they are:
pride, envy, wrath, greed, gluttony, lust,
and there’s one more we don’t talk about much: sloth. What is that?
Sloth is more than merely being lazy, although that’s part of it.
This is the sin of indifference and lack of interest; of not caring.
It can poison our zeal for doing the things we need to do:
Praying, going regularly to confession, being faithful to our obligations,
and caring about the needs of others.
Saint Augustine talked once about how this life is a journey.
Sometimes, as for Job in the first reading,
it is a “drudgery,” and a lack of hope.
When Job speaks of “months of misery,
and troubled nights,”
I think that’s how a lot of people feel right now!
That discouragement can be lead us to one kind of spiritual sloth:
That “why bother” sort of attitude,
where we just feel like we have no reason to keep going.
But you and I are on a journey through this world.
If you are driving home, maybe it’s a beautiful day
and you love seeing the scenery along the way.
Or maybe it’s sleet and snow, you can’t see,
And you’re white-knuckling it
as you and other drivers slip-and-slide along I-75.
Either way, remember:
the point of the drive home isn’t the drive, but home itself!’
Funny thing is, this is where a rough ride through storms
is actually less bad than a beautiful drive. Why?
Because one of the spiritual dangers each of us face –
On our “drive home” to heaven –
Is that we fall too much in love with things along the way,
and forget where we are headed.
That, too, is a kind of spiritual sloth:
gradually falling in love with this world and all it offers,
can make us gradually forget our first love, who is Jesus Christ.
Either way, sloth is simply not caring;
either from being too sad; or from being too content.
One way we can identify sloth in our lives:
If we so content with where we are,
that we’re not actively thinking about where we’re going to be next.
So there’s the problem. What do we do about it?
Well, these readings give us some remedies.
Notice Jesus is busy taking care of other people.
If it seems like you’re carrying the weight of the world,
if you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself,
one of the best remedies is to check in with people who need help.
In a few weeks we’ll have another casserole crusade to send good,
home-cooked food to feed people who lives can be pretty rough.
If you go to the Bethany Center in Piqua, or the soup kitchen in Sidney,
you’ll see all kinds of folks, young and old,
including parents bringing children.
I’ll wager most of us have never been in that situation.
Do you want to help those kids get a good meal? Of course you do!
Well, then, sign up when the time comes to make casseroles!
Another remedy for sloth is how Paul just keeps to his task.
He says, I’ve got a job to do. Maybe I feel like it, maybe I don’t –
but I get down to work all the same.
Paul remembers why he’s doing it: he’s thinking of home; of heaven.
A third remedy: when you’re discouraged and tempted to slack off,
it’s time to double-down.
If you don’t want to get out of bed to go to the gym,
what does your workout buddy do? Gets on your case, right?
You don’t feel like praying? That’s when you pray more.
Someone will say, “but I don’t feel like praying!”…
as if feelings are all that important? They aren’t!
Kids, I’ve got a secret to tell you, ready?
A lot of times, your dad and your mom
don’t feel like getting up at 5 or 6 am to go to work.
They don’t feel like making supper.
They don’t feel like helping you with your homework
Or even leading the family Rosary.
But they do it anyway. It’s not about feeling. It’s about love.
Love is a choice, not a feeling; we choose to love God,
We choose to love people in our lives,
Whether we feel it…or not.
So, sure, it’s nice if when our spiritual lives include good feels;
But a lot of times, that doesn’t happen.
Just keep going. We’ve got a journey ahead of us.