“Until I’m measured, I’m not known, yet how much do you miss me when I have flown.” Can you guess what that is?
Here’s another clue: “It devours all things … birds, beasts, flowers, and trees; gnaws iron, bites steal; grinds hard stones to meal; slays kings, ruins cities, and beats a high mountain down.” Any guesses?
The answer is: time.
Time is one of those things you’ll never have unless you take it, and there never seems to be enough to go around when you’re in desperate need. It’s one of the most valuable commodities on the planet, so you have to wonder why we waste so much of it. Imagine (if you even can) buying a case of your favourite beer, opening each bottle, and pouring them all into your favourite toilet. Now flush! What a waste, right? You can always pick up more beer, but you’ll never be able to buy even just a single extra second of time.
Few people, really, seem to be immune from wasting time, especially yours truly. The moment I finally have five minutes to sit down and starting writing this article, I get distracted online. Before I know it – I’ve posted a dozen articles on Facebook, I know how the Blue Jays are doing, I’ve watched a few movie trailers, and I’m also an expert now on cooking omelettes. So much for the article, right?
Well, in a roundabout way, those idle moments helped me realize something important: I really need to fight my vice of Sloth, but how?
I’m a Catholic revert. After growing up in the Church, I wandered away, and then came back. Since that time, the Internet has been an important tool in re-forming my faith. We’re so blessed right now to be living in an age of online catechesis where we have so many elements of Catholic teaching available to us. It doesn’t beat sitting down with a good book, no, but it’s not a bad alternative.
One of my favourite resources is a Youtube channel called Sensus Fidelium (Sense of the Faithful). Basically, it’s a channel where you can find sermons by a group of traditionally-minded Catholic priests. The visuals aren’t going to blow you away, but the editors do cover the audio with different pictures, and (in my humble opinion) this is way better than television. It’s not entirely free, however. The editors ask that you say three Hail Mary’s for the priest giving the sermon, which will only cost you a bit of time.
Well, during one of my recent idle moments, as I mentioned earlier, I came across the video inspiration for this article. The title is “Sloth: Escape from God, Pursuit of the World vs St Fidelis.” Hey, I couldn’t resist – it’s great Catholic clickbait.
The priest (who isn’t identified by name) lays it out right away: Sloth is a capital vice.
“We often think of Sloth as being merely laziness,” he says, which is an idea that’s widely held, but there’s much more to it than that. In an important distinction, highlighting the real evil of this sin, he describes Sloth as, “laziness founded on sorrow, a twisted, perverted sorrow that finds the goodness of God somehow distasteful.”
True Sloth weighs down a man, making him neglect the things of the spirit and to wallow in the sensual – in the things of the flesh. In short, Sloth is both an escape, but it’s also a pursuit: It’s an escape from God, and our proper end of Heaven, but it’s also a pursuit of the things of this world that leads, ultimately, to damnation.
I know I’ve never heard Sloth described like that before, and I bet most guys haven’t either.
The priest goes on to say how Sloth leads men away from embracing the cross, which goes against everything we’re supposed to be striving for as Catholics, whether you’re married or single. That’s why you need to listen to the whole talk.
I know, from experience, that it’s hard for some guys to turn off their TVs, or put down their smartphones, to deal with their responsibilities, whether that’s family, work, or faith. But it’s only when we conquer Sloth, like the priest says, that we’ll truly be able to pick up our crosses and live as authentic Catholic men and disciples of Christ.
HOW TO FIGHT
I’d love to give you a full transcript of the talk, because it’s awesome, but I’m just the middleman, so you’ll have to watch the rest of the video for more pearls of priestly wisdom.
The main thing you can do to fight this vice, and something you can do right now, is take your trouble directly to Christ. Turn off the computer (after reading this blog) and pray to Jesus, asking Him to expel that spirit of slothfulness in you. He wants you to follow Him, and if you ask for help, humbling yourself as a lowly sinner, He won’t hold back. But this shouldn’t be a one-time prayer, so keep at it (and you might need to if you’re even half the Sloth I am).
You can also go to Our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. Ask for her intercession in your pursuit of the cross and she’ll help you out of that trap of the couch. She’s your spiritual mother, and a powerful ally, so there’s no way she’s going to abandon you if you truly want to get closer to her Son.
One other thing you shouldn’t forget: we have the Saints on our side. Study the lives of these holy men and women, imitate them, and ask them to pray to God for you on this matter. One particular saint you’ll want to consider in this task is St. Fidelis.
Fidelis of Sigmaringen was born in Germany during the late 16th century, at the time of the protestant revolution. It just so happens that St. Fidelis became directly involved in the counter-revolution by the Catholic Church. He also happens to be part of the video I’m talking about here.
In the Youtube sermon, the priest mentions how this saint was constantly praying that he might be “preserved from Sloth.” So, if that’s a vice you’re struggling with, this saint knows exactly what you’re going through.
“‘Woe to me,’” the priest said, quoting the saint, “‘if I should prove myself a half-hearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned captain Jesus Christ.’” This is not a man who wanted idle hands turning into the devil’s playthings.
The story of St. Fidelis, like that of all the saints, is truly inspiring. He went from being a lawyer to a shepherd for Christ. He was also a man of great zeal at a time when the Church was in desperate need of fiery men like him. The church needs men like that right now, which is a call that goes out to you and I here today. So what are you waiting for? Quit reading, unplug, and start praying.
If publishing article online please attribute source Band of Christian Brothers with link to original article.