Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Vice and Virtue

"Ruth is getting over a mild case of whooping cough. 
It has never affected her liveliness or her appetite. 
She eats like a little pig, a whole BIG banana every afternoon 
and then she cries for more. 
She loves her toes now and chews them 
with or without her boots on…"

Grandma T. kept every “aerogram” sent to Canada from my parents in South Africa. They are neatly numbered in an old Ganong's Chocolates box and my aunt graciously gave them to me a couple of years ago. I was born abroad and every little detail of my development was shared by my proud parents. A common theme in all the letters was my voracious appetite and my astounding rate of growth. The quote above was written by my mother in letter #37 when I was nearly six months old. It is obvious that I was born a glutton. I love bananas to this day, and thankfully still have ten toes.

We were challenged this week to write about which of the Seven Deadly Sins we are most guilty of. 
The medieval list;-

lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and hubris, 

seems a little repetitive in my opinion and could be summarized in three words, 

Overindulgence, laziness and malice.

I am guilty of all of them. They may not always be evident in my external behaviour, but if you could read my thoughts sometimes…

In truth, all human conflict is rooted in these vices whether it is a major war or a conflict at home or work. Self-centredness and taking personal offence can ruin our happiness, whether it is getting angry at a perceived inequity or getting in an argument with someone who has a different perspective or opinion than our own.

In spite of my faults, I prefer to focus on the seven virtues;-

chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, 
patience, kindness, and humility. 

Chastity has a deeper meaning than sexual purity and includes caring well for one’s body, knowledge, wisdom, and honesty. It abhors ignorance, hostility, and corruption. 

Virtue abounds in our world but vice gets far more press time. Nurturing virtue--personally, in our homes, careers, communities and nation is more of a challenge than simply calling out the short-comings of others. 


  1. As you pointed out, we are all guilty of some of these in our heads, regardless of whether we outwardly act on them. I agree that focusing on virtues is a much healthier way to live.

  2. I might quibble with the word 'guilty' as it can be a very strong word implying great wrong doing, but I can't come up with a good alternative right now, so there you go. :)

    I like the graphic.

    1. I am guilty if I commit murder or if I indulge in a "guilty pleasure" such as sneaking a cookie from the freezer. We do need another word and I cannot find it either.

  3. What a wonderful way to summarize the so-called 7 deadly sins.
    I agree with your basic observation--that human conflict is rooted in these "sins." I place the quote marks to help soften the too religious overtones. I think that sin (the religious term) is some times dismissed, but the human frailty remains.
    Now, off to write my own blog on my "deadly sin."

  4. I, too, found a list of the 7 virtues and would like to be more interested in them, than in the deadly sins. For me the deadly sins all boil down to pride, and it seems to me we all have too much of that, interpreted broadly and boiling down to "selfishness."


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.