Male Self Destruction II


Last time I referred to Sean Isaacs and the GIANTS in the lives of men that are lurking around in order to wreck havoc and destruction in their lives.

The Catholic Church formally teaches that Original Sin is a reality, and that it has severely damaged human nature by the weakening of the will and the darkening of the mind. Added to this sad state is the world, which is often wicked, along with the influence of Satan— and you have a caldron of potentially bad things that might very well happen. The GIANTS of destruction are: Unrighteous Anger; Unrecognized Slothfulness; Untampered Lust; Unlawful People Pleasing; Unrepentant Pride.

Let’s start with Unrighteous Anger. Some time back I was engaged in a discussion with a relative in which we were lending our opinions as to which version of the song “Stardust” was best. There are many versions of this song, both vocal and instrumental. When I ventured the opinion that Nat King Cole’s version was my favorite, he became visibly angry and sullen for a longer time than I would have thought. It was disturbing to me that a simple opinion about such a trivial issue as a song would have elicited such a reaction. I have seen this happen a number of times in my life. But why the anger?

When I was a seminarian, and helping out a parish in Connecticut, one time the phone rang and the pastor answered. After he hung up—out of his mouth came almost demonic rage—swearing and spewing out invectives which became rather frightening. This was an example of uncontrolled anger which surfaced from him on occasion, but we came to understand was never far from the surface.

When left unchecked, anger such as the above examples can lead to physical and verbal abuse, as well as disruption of relationships and even murder. Sometimes you can feel the anger a person has, even if it isn’t manifested explicitly. I believe many men have a problem with anger in one form or the other, and this must be addressed as it can destroy them spiritually and in a host of other ways. Holding grudges is a form of anger. St. Alphonsus Ligouri teaches that anger or hatred is one of the four gates that leads to Hell.

Personally, I think anger is often related to pride—as in the case of the relative who got mad over a song—he wasn’t even aware that Nat King Cole had a version of Stardust, and this wounded his ego.

Unrecognized Slothfulness. We equate slothfulness with laziness, but this is not exactly the meaning here. A person can be industrious in one aspect of his life but fail in another because of lack of attention or a reluctance to address a serious issue. A man may be a genius in the office when counseling others but fail to attend to his wife and children adequately at home. This in all actuality is a form of sloth and can lead to serious personal and familial problems.
To be continued.