Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Greed, Avarice and Envy, and the Tenth Commandment

Greed, Avarice and Envy Greed, avarice and envy are all at the root of contradiction with the Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Ex 20:17). With greed, there aren’t enough earthly goods to satisfy us. We’ll always want more. Remember the old line, “keeping up with the Joneses?” With greed, we must always have more, or better, than the Joneses. Avarice, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to accumulate wealth. One can never have enough money. And then there’s envy; the inordinate desire to want what someone else has, simply because they have it and you do not. All three – greed, avarice and envy – try to fill holes that only God can fill. All three have at their root in the sin of pride.

Battling with Greed, Avarice and Envy

If we don’t have the latest gadgets, if we don’t have enough money, what will people think of us? Will they think less of us? Our pride drives us to garner the goods and the money, simply to “save face.” Yet ask yourself, if you were to see your neighbor, with an older car than you, would you really think less of him? If the answer is no, then why do you think that your neighbor would think less of you?

Overcoming Greed, Avarice and Envy

When we covet our neighbor’s goods, and violate the Tenth Commandment, we’re looking in all the wrong places! Rather than filling our homes with the latest technological gadgets, or increasing our bank accounts, perhaps we should try filling our hearts with peace, joy, love, and kindness. Rather than taking account of what our neighbor possesses, perhaps we should count our blessings and express our thanks to God. If we were to do these things, we could easily adhere to the Tenth Commandment.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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2 Responses to Greed, Avarice and Envy, and the Tenth Commandment

  • I must admit that I struggle to understand where I might fall into committing these sins. I’m a sick & disabled Senior living in Canada, on the lowest ‘possible’ pension income in my province — which is $3,000.00/year UNDER the ‘poverty line’; and I AM ‘judged’ by others because of that — considered to be ‘a drain’ on society. I recognize that in other parts of the world, levels of ‘poverty’ are much worse than they are here; and I pray for them every day that they will be able to access clean drinking water, safe shelters and enough food to eat — that they can find work, decent schools for their children and live in peace! Yet, I struggle with my own ‘wants’ — for a better apartment, more appropriate to my health needs — or, better yet, a home of my own where I’d never have to worry again, about being ‘evicted’ — and having a car to get me from place to place — enough money to be able to feed myself better or hire the help I need — and maybe even help my son who is struggling to survive on a ‘less-than-livable’ wage! I am ‘rich’ by world standards; but NOT by ‘local’ standards! And yes, I envy those who CAN ‘live’, ‘eat well’, go places, get higher education; those who CAN go on vacations, afford ‘new’ clothes … I’d really ‘like’ to have been able to do those things; but I couldn’t ‘afford’ any of them. But, EVEN IF I won a lottery today, I CAN’T DO any of those things anymore.

    • Hi Sue: It’s good to hear from you again. You have been in my prayers. Wanting for the Lord to meet your basic needs is different than wanting something for the sake of wanting it. When you express your needs to God, that is appropriate. May I suggest praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily for those less fortunate – that God has mercy on them. When doing so, you will find more of His mercy for yourself as well. Here’s a link showing how to recite this chaplet: http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/chaplet.php



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