Hi, my name is Father Mike Schmitz
and this is Ascension Presents. So, I was reading in the Bible the other day, the story of King Saul and then when David comes along, right? And David has been anointed
to be the future king, defeats Goliath, and they go into the city and the women
come out and they praise. They say, “Saul has slain his thousands
and David his tens of thousands.” And then, the line after that says, “From that moment on, envy entered into King Saul’s heart” and this bitterness against David. I’ve been reflecting on envy because I think in some ways we can be like, “Well, you know, envy is not that big of a deal or jealousy.” Some people use those in two different ways. I just want to put them together. There’s a wisdom in separating envy and jealousy,
just to kind of get more precision. I’m (pop chk clap) gonna smash them together and call it env-elousy. Wait that no—I’m just—call it envy or jealousy. What is envy? What’s jealousy? It’s what Saul had for David. It’s sadness at the blessings of another, right? You can say I’m sad because you’re happy. Or on the flip side, it’s
I’m happy because you’re sad. I’m sad because you have a gift that I don’t have.
I’m sad because you have a status that I don’t have. I’m sad that you are someone that I wish I could be. That’s not the same thing as
admiring someone and saying, “Wow, that’s an incredible car that you’re driving.
That’ll be really cool to have that.” Or it’s, “You play the violin so awesomely and you sit in first chair. I would love some day to sit in first chair.” I’m not sad at your blessings.
I’m not sad at your skill. I’m not sad at your excellence. I’m inspired by it.
That’s a whole different thing. But envy, at its heart, is this sadness. We have to realize that this isn’t a silly sin, it really—it actually is silly. It’s a silly sin. Why? Because virtually every other sin
gives us at least some moment of pleasure, it gives us even some fleeting moment of happiness, right? Think of any other sin that you
or I choose to do on a regular basis. We do it because, at least for a moment,
it makes us feel good. Envy is so weird because not even for a
moment does it make us feel good and yet some people can be so consumed by envy that they let that thing drive and guide their entire lives. It’s just remarkable. That’s one of the reasons why I think Dante—I read this a little bit ago—in the Inferno, those who were in Hell for the sin of envy, they had to suffer in this very poetic way he was describing this, they had to suffer in eternity by having their eyelids sewn shut with threads of metal wire. Why? Well, because that’s kind of what the envious person— it’s how they live now, is I don’t see my own blessings. I can’t possibly,
I’m blind to my own blessings and I’m constantly looking
for the blessings of others. and to realize that the heart of this
are two things at least: One is an attitude of scarcity. An attitude that is numbed to the fact that I have an
abundance of blessings in my own life. You have an abundance of blessings
in your own life. That’s why Dante would say their eyelids
are sewn shut because they can’t see
the abundant blessings in their own life. They see scarcity where there’s actually abundance and they’re constantly looking
and comparing themselves to others. One of the remedies for that would be
obviously gratitude. So if you find yourself being an envious person,
I would say take a moment, stop, and actually count your blessings. If King David—King Saul, I mean, would have done that—”What? what? Yeah, my thousands. David, his tens of thousands
but that doesn’t take away from my thousands.” And that’s the second thing. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia has a
definition of envy that I think is really, really enlightening. “Envy is sorrow which one entertains
at another’s well-being”—we said that already— “because of a view that one’s own excellence is in consequence, lessened.” Basically, the idea that because you are blessed— because someone else has something, that means that I have to have less. And this is the crazy thing,
that King Saul, he was anointed by God. He was chosen by God. Yes, at this point… he was kind of on his way out
as far as kings are concerned, but he was gonna
live out his kingship until the end of his life, as David even says essentially,
I’m not gonna strike down the Lord’s anointed. And yet Saul couldn’t see the fact that David’s ascendancy,
David’s blessing didn’t take anything away from him. And this is the same thing— the people around you: their gifts, their skills, the degree to which they are loved, doesn’t take anything away from your gifts, your skills, or the degree to which you are loved, so gratitude is one of the remedies for envy but there’s a more profound remedy for envy. And it isn’t about willpower and it’s not about
writing out a list of all the blessings you have. It’s simply about grace. I’m afraid that I’m less because you are more. What do I need to do? I need to go to a place… where I can be reminded of my goodness and you need to go to a place where you can be reminded of your goodness and who can remind you more fully of
your goodness… than the Father? I would say this. More than gratitude, the remedy for envy
is placing yourself under the gaze of the Father. Place yourself
in the presence of God the Father and let him look upon you
and that gaze that raises you up, the gaze that says, “I claim you as my son. I claim you as my daughter.
I give my only begotten son as a ransom for you. That this is what you are worth.” What about other people?
No, no, no, no. This is what you are worth. To find your worth
beneath the gaze of the Father, to be given your identity beneath the gaze of
the Father because that gaze… the eyes of the Father resting upon you is what
frees people from the bondage of envy, is what frees people from this slavery
to competition. When you recognize that the way the Father looks at you is wholly and entirely and infinitely unique because you are unique to him, it frees us from any temptation to jealousy,
any temptation to envy, and any temptation towards
this kind of weird competition. My brothers and sisters,
I just invite you. If the enemy’s been plaguing you, gripping your heart because you’ve seen like, “I don’t have enough. Everyone else has more.
I’m less because they’re better,” not only be grateful for what you do have, but secondly, place yourself beneath the gaze of the Father
and let him remind you not only of who you are but even more importantly,
who you are to him. His son. His daughter. The one he loves. That should be enough to be able to find joy in this world and even joy in the blessings of the people around you. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name’s Father Mike. God bless. Hey! Be sure to like, subscribe and do all those things that people do
on the Internet. See ya!