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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Virtues - Part 4

So, let's look again at the Passions versus the Virtues:

Moving through the 'Manipulative Axis,' we pass from Lust to Sloth.  Sloth leaves everyone else to pick up the mess and take care of the slothful.  Sloth is codependent, since it seeks its contentment from others, but by not being in control and yielding itself to others.

But, when we come to respect others, the Sloth is pushed out by Responsibility.

Responsibility is a byproduct of Humility, because it requires the proper self-knowledge for one to understand who he really is and what he is capable of doing.  You cannot be responsible if you first do not know yourself.

If Pride tells you that you are greater than you are, then you will tend to over-emphasize your responsibility, which will later lead to resentment and Sloth.  Pride can also directly tell you that work is beneath you and that you ought to leave it to others, which is Sloth.

But, Responsibility lies in the proper understanding of one's self and others.  We see that we are not entitled to encumber others with our 'needs,' that we should strive to both do what we can for others, but also realize that we cannot do everything.  If I feel responsible for others well-being, I must know why exactly and what I am really capable of doing.  I can neither be overly-responsible nor negligent.

Responsibility is a balance.  One must know what to do, but also what cannot be done.  It asks for help in order that worse failures can be prevented, but it does not encumber others with millions of requests and demands.  In fact, Responsibility never demands.  If others do not pull through with their own responsibilities, this Virtue allows us to remain calm and know that we have kept our side of the street clean.

Be responsible means having a clean conscience: we do not feel ashamed or guilty when we listen to its counsel.

It takes a great deal of spiritual healing to be truly responsible and to live within its boundaries.  Pride wreaks havoc with our self-knowledge, making Responsibility virtually impossible to attain, since we either feel irresponsible or overly-responsible.  But, when we reach it, we attain peace in our daily interactions with others.

Responsibility also helps us take satisfaction in our labors.  There is great comfort in it, knowing that we have harmed no one and provided for ourselves with the gifts God has given us.

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