Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Seven Deadly Sins

Growing up in a town just south of South Boston ("Southie"), I was one of maybe 3-4 Jewish kids in a graduating class of more than 750. The vast majority of everyone else were Irish and Italian Catholic and this was such a prevalent part of the prevailing culture that the name of the "parish" I lived in (St.Clare's) was more important than the name of the county (I don't remember).

I do remember kids talking about questions they were grappling with as a result of their Sunday school classes and, being Jewish, I was endlessly fascinated with these discussions because the worries they had were so decidedly absent in my own religious upbringing. Not that we didn't care about justice and what was right and what was wrong, but the idea that one could be born a "sinner" (original sin) and could be condemned to Hell for who knows what offense later was a shocking thing to hear. But it wasn't just concerning and confusing for their Jewish classmate, my Catholic friends were worried and rightfully (under the circumstances) obsessed with these concepts as well.

The seven deadly sins—lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride—were a list my Catholic friends were required to memorize and recite and I was present at one gathering where my friends worried incessantly about this list and what each sin meant. I imagined their Sunday school class had some sort of test coming up but more than likely they needed to recite the list for the nuns and feared incurring the "wrath" of the dreaded ruler from coming down on their hands.

I haven't thought about this list in years but in two recent sessions guidance came through that shifted the way I think and suddenly the discussions I remember on the Deadly Sins came flooding back. The guidance was that the problem at hand would disappear if one could sit in the belief that who we are is infinitely connected to ALL. That WE are collectively IT--God, the "Universe", the Big Gee, whatever you want to call IT. Self-realization, connection with the Divine, no longer seeing ourselves as separate.

How would one act, what would one believe from this perspective? In the guidance it was NOT required that one reach this state of being BEFORE healing could occur. The suggestion made was to act "as if," to imagine what it might be like. Would you feel ashamed of yourself or less than other people? Would you have any reason to be envious of others, greedy, afraid or vengeful? Conversely, would you need to prove your worth or flaunt it in any way? The "Sins" have been interpreted as varying degrees of separation from Divinity. If you really are Divinity—if our true nature is Divine—the sins have no reason to exist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My thoughts align with yours...thanks for sharing.