The Seven Deadly Sins
Sayings of the Fathers of the Church
Sacred Scripture did not neatly list the seven deadly sins, so where did this tradition come from? Unsurprisingly, it can be traced back to the Church Fathers. But were there eight or seven? In a sense, the answer is "both." The tradition of the capital sins has a rich development in the patristic era, not only in the presentation of the list of vices but in the preaching and teaching of the early shepherds of the Church. So how do the capital sins spawn other vices in the soul? How does one cultivate the virtues that heal the soul from those vices? How are gluttony and lust related? Is sadness really a vice? How is vainglory different from pride? What role does almsgiving have in soothing the passion of anger? The Fathers of the Church answer these questions and more in this volume.
The capital vices are the gateway drugs to countless sins. The path of the book descends through the vices, culminating with their queen ruler, pride. The words of the Fathers will assist the reader in being more realistic about the attacks upon the soul. The text should also be edifying and medicinal. Since each chapter begins with vice and ends with virtue, one's path through the chapters represents a sort of ascent out of vice and into the freedom of the virtues. The text gives special attention throughout to the thought of Augustine of Hippo, Evagrius of Pontus, John Cassian, Gregory the Great, and Maximus the Confessor.
"A wonderfully helpful compendium of insights and advice from the Church Fathers, that is, from some of the church's earliest and most influential theologians, on the seven deadly sins. You will be astonished at how relevant and applicable is this ancient wisdom to the life of the modern-day Christian. Highly recommended."—James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
"Many Christians credit the Church Fathers with making them Catholic—I'm one of them. But how many credit the Fathers with making them holy? As this wonderful collection affirms, the Fathers were not just scholars and apologists but, above all, pastors. They wanted to generate saints. This volume offers a fountain of their spiritual wisdom, bubbling with insight on the seven 'capital' vices and advice on avoiding them. Read this not just for intellectual enjoyment but to discover a centuries-old, proven path for conquering your worst sins."—Brandon Vogt, author and Content Director at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
"Kevin Clarke has edited a marvelous book—gathering the wise and holy reflections from the Fathers of the Church on these most deadly sins. These judicious and instructive sayings, while causing one to reflect deeply on one's own sin, also leads one to glory in the life that Jesus brings to Christians—a Spirit-filled life freed from deathly sin. This book is to be read by all thoughtful Christians who truly seek to live an abundant life. -"—Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap., Member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission, Capuchin College, Washington D.C.
"While many volumes of the Fathers of the Church already exist, Kevin Clarke's compilation is a unique and valuable addition to parish, Newman Center, and school libraries. The concise excerpts are interesting and diverse. Passages are chosen from both Eastern and Western theologians. Most importantly, the book is structured so that the content is immediately placed in context and made accessible to readers on many levels."—Catholic Library World
"A pleasing and accessible volume, fit for a broad readership [Clarke's] volume is a noble effort to recover the ancient Christian tradition of compiling apothegmata or "utterances'' of the Fathers for spiritual nourishment; it should also introduce new audiences to the riches hidden in the mystical treasury of the early church."—Theological Studies
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