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Other pandemics that threaten our lives

Approx. read time: 1:45 min., plus reflection questions.

COVID owns the bandwidth right now, and understandably so. We’re being sobered. But other pandemics rage on unabated, claiming lives every day—yet so pervasive that we consider them “normal.” They are not. They are a tragic distortion of the human spirit. I call them pandemics of the soul.

The church calls them “capital sins,” those seven dark forces that knock down our spiritual immunity to temptations of every sort.

Deadly sins, deadly as COVID … but more beguiling.

Consider these …

  • Pride, or the overblown sense of self and one’s importance. The prideful one might pray, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of these, …” and remain blissfully untouched by one’s own shortcomings.
  • Avarice, an old-fashioned word for greed, the idolizing of wealth, and the socially blinding quest to achieve it.
  • Envy, or toxic resentment toward others for their status or their gain; a form of “othering” that lays bare (to everyone else) the core poverties of the one who envies.
  • Wrath, which is the outsized, unplugged expression of anger which aims to crush, to punish, with no room for mercy; an overtly damaging form of “othering.”
  • Lust, or the excessive and blinding desire to satisfy the senses—including a sick sense of ownership of, or power over, another—for unrestrained gratification; referring not only to disordered sexual appetite but to other disordered appetites as well.
  • Gluttony, or the act of frenzied and limitless consumption—of food, or drink, or whatever appetite demands to be sated now; not for sustenance and health but to appease an unfillable empty space inside.
  • Sloth, or the unwillingness to exert or apply oneself; laziness which refuses to step up to the demands of social responsibility, to carry one’s part of the load.

These pandemics of our collective soul are worth pondering, in a personal way, as we sit out the storms of that other dreadful pandemic.

Reflection questions

  1. Have I become infected with any of these deadly spiritual pandemics? Which one(s)?
  2. What steps do I take (or might I take) regularly to build up spiritual immunity? Who must I tap for
    help? What’s the courageous first step?
  3. Have I experienced new life after being in the death grip of any of these soul traps? What’s the story?

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