Wednesday 23 February 2022

8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace - Vivian Boland - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

8 Deadly Sins: 
Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Father Vivian Boland OP
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824609
eISBN 9781784692704
CTS Booklet SP21

Over the last few years, I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society. Most were good reads; some were great reads; and a few are exceptional. This is an excellent offering. It is the ninth in the Deeper Christianity Series that I have read, over half of them I have now read twice, and the second volume from the pen of by Vivian Boland. I have read over 250 offerings from the CTS over the last few years. This series is one of my favorites. This booklet was originally published 2007 and the eBook was released in 2017. Note it is currently only available in eBook format. The description of this volume is:

“The Church has settled on a list of 7 mortal sins but the Fathers of the Church more often referred to 8. The deadly or capital sins – covetousness, envy, sloth, gluttony, lust, anger, vainglory and pride – are the most significant and insidious temptations with which we must contend. A first step in countering their influence is understanding their psychological and spiritual roots in human experience. Standing humbly in the truth about ourselves, we will appreciate the power of God's love to heal and strengthen our nature, for love is not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not irritable or resentful.”

The chapters in the book are:

Pride – and Vainglory

And there is an excellent set of recommendations for ‘Further Reading’ at the end of the volume, as well as previews of three other volumes in this series, two of which I can not come across yet. And are now on my wish list. This volume begins with a section called What’s In A Number, which has sub sections and 3, 4, 7 and concluded with a section called Seven or Eight? It gives a brief history of numbers that humans seem drawn to, in other religions, Christianity, and even culturally. At first, I questioned this extensive introduction and it’s relation to the subject at hand. Further in the book I went back and reread this section with a much greater clarity and understanding. And the conclusion of the book returns to these numbers at the beginning:

“The monastic teacher Evagrius Pontus spoke of eight ‘generic thoughts’ in which every thought is contained. These he named as gluttony, fornication, love of money, depression, anger, listlessness, vainglory and pride. These were to become the seven deadly sins of Christian tradition, written about by Chaucer, Dante, John of the Cross, and many others, and still informing popular culture today. Gregory the Great and Thomas Aquinas combine the idea of eight with the tradition of seven by regarding pride as a ‘super sin’, the root of the other seven.
Evagrius immediately adds this important observation:

Whether these thoughts come to disturb the soul or not is not something we can control; but whether they linger or not, and whether they arouse passions or not, that is subject to our control.”

And it concludes with:

“A first step in countering their influence is to understand their psychological and spiritual roots in human experience. This is what this booklet has tried to do. If we stand, humbly, in the truth about ourselves, we will appreciate the power of God’s love to heal and strengthen our nature, for love is not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not irritable or resentful. If we understand the origins and nature in us of these ‘generic thoughts’, these ‘phantasies’ or ‘demons’, we are already in possession of a truth that sets us free. For that understanding assures us, in case we are tempted to doubt it, that our wellbeing and our salvation consists only, and always, in love. This will then sustain us in the discipline and practices of the spiritual life.”

This book is an excellent volume. I have been greatly blessed by reading it, and know that like many others from the CTS it is one I will return to. I wish I had read books like this when I was younger. That I had encountered the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society in my teens or even twenties. I am sure they would have had an immense impact on my formation and growth. And that Is in part why I read and review so many of them today. This book and series are excellent reads, for teens, young adults, and even those of us past middle age. I highly recommend this book and series! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Deeper Christianity Series:
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Deadly Sins Learning to Defend the Life of Grace
Catholic Architecture 
Christian Fasting Disciplining the Body, Awakening the Spirit
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Desire & Delight
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Fruits of the Holy Spirit Living a Happy Life
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special

Mary in the Liturgy
Mary Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Providence and Prayer
Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance
Purgatory A Mystery of Love
Rediscovering Virtue The Art of Christian Living
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
The Call to Evangelise: Founded on loving intimacy with the Lord
The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ
The Name of God The Revelation of the Merciful Presence of God
The Trinity and the Spiritual Life
Understanding The Story Of The Bible
Union with God

Books by Father Vivian Boland:
Ideas in God According to Saint Thomas Aquinas
Spiritual Warfare: Fighting the Good Fight
Don't Put Out the Burning Bush
Watchmen Raise Their Voices

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