St. Paul’s List of Character Defects to the Galatians

If you need a starting place with recognizing your character defects (vices), or if you are having a hard time with your list, take a look at Galatians 5:16-25.  This was the epistle reading from the extra-ordinary form of the Mass (Traditional Latin Mass), today, the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

[16] I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. [18] But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, [20] Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,

[21] Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, [23] Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. [24] And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Some of the things here may sound foreign to you, but I bet most hit close to home: fornication? Check. Uncleanness (impurity)? Check. Luxury (also translated as “lustfulness” or “debauchery” or “sensuality”)? Check. Quarrels? Check Dissensions? Check. Envies? Check. Drunkeness? Check.  I can put a check aside most of those things.

These are things I can add to my list of defects, and help me with Step 8 and 9.  Whom did I envy?  Who did I hurt through my wrath and quarrels?

In contrast with these vices, St. Paul gives us the fruits of the spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity (kindness), goodness, longanimity (long-suffering, forbearance, generosity), mildness (gentleness), faith, modesty, continency (self-control), chastity.

In asking God to remove our character defects, we out to ask for the fruits of the Holy Spirit as well.  When we fill our hearts with these virtues, there will be less and less room for the vices.

 

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“They confessed their lust” Susanna Part 2

They said to each other, “Let us go home, for it is mealtime.” And when they went out, they parted from each other. But turning back, they met again; and when each pressed the other for the reason, they confessed their lust. And then together they arranged for a time when they could find her alone.” – Daniel 13:13-14

In SAA, it takes only two people and one share to make a meeting.  The meeting between the two judges was definitely not an SAA meeting.

Rather than confessing their lust and repenting of it, rending their garments and covering themselves in ashes, they conspired together.  These wicked men were willing to share her in raping her.

It’s a poorly kept secret that sometimes twelve-step meetings, including S groups, are places that people meet for sex.  I have heard AA members refer to joining an S group as the “13th step” since they learn, through all their AA hook-ups, that the alcohol is merely masking their sex addiction.

S meetings often have a disclaimer that says something like, “meetings are not the place to find a sexual partner.”  It is also advised that you do not choose a sponsor to whom you are sexually attracted.

Earlier in the chapter we read that the judges were full of shame.  Instead of bearing their shame to one another, they buried it.  If we do not bear our shame to one another at our meetings, they can become a dangerous place that lead us to act out rather than recover.

To avoid this, we must commit ourselves to rigorous honesty.  We must be willing to be introspective and find our character defects so that God can remove them, and we must then share them at our meetings and in the Sacrament of Confession!