They all ate and were satisfied. I want to talk today about what it is to be satisfied, especially when we receive the Eucharist. We live a lot of our lives unsatisfied and so the Rolling Stones had it right when they sang, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Recently, I was with a family member, a relative and he’s a smoker and so his son was with him and his son said to him, “Dad why do you smoke?” he said, “Well son, I’ll tell you why. You smoke that first cigarette and you feel something great and then you spend the rest of your life trying to catch that same feeling and you never do”.
I thought that was a great answer to that. The same is true with sin. When we sin, we are trying to satisfy ourselves but we are never able to reach that satisfaction. So, when we’re caught in the life of sin, “We Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, as much as we try and we try and we try and we try.
So, as I was thinking about this idea of satisfaction and not being able to get the satisfaction, the seven deadly sins are what came to mind. As I go through the seven deadly sins, I want you to think about which might be your tendency, which might be the core sin that you try to get satisfied with, and you realize that you try and you try and you try and you can’t get no satisfaction.
The seven deadly sins are these vices or are called capital sins because they go right to the head, right to the root of our sin for us, and so if we can identify what our deadly sin is, the one that we go to to try to find satisfaction, it will really help in us being healed of that and finding true satisfaction in Christ. St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great were the ones that came up with the idea of summarizing the seven deadly sins. They are; pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. I am going to go through each one a little bit and give you the catechism definition of what that sin is, and I want you to think about which one you try to be satisfied with and you find yourself unsatisfied every time.
First of all, is pride. Pride is an excessive love of self or the desire to feel more important than others. The catechism says that respect for the human person precedes by way of respect for the principle; that everyone should look upon his neighbor as another self. Above all bearing mind is life and the means necessary to live with dignity. Pride says there’s something more important about me than anyone else and perhaps even than God, so that’s one. And by the way, sometimes people come to me in confession and they say “ Father I’m just coming for confession, I don’t have any sin” and I’m thinking in the back of my mind, your sin is pride right because we all have sinned. The second is lust. Lust is this intense desire, usually for sexual pleasure but also for money, power, and fame. The catechism says that the god of promises always warned man against the seduction against what would be in the beginning seemed good for food, a delight for the eye, to be desired to make one wise; so the original sin was this giving into lust.
I want you to think about that. Is lust your sin that you keep going to be satisfied by and you find yourself unsatisfied with? This of course could be pornography, masturbation, affairs, anything like that, even looking at another with lust. If we do that constantly, that may be a core sin for us. Gluttony which we are very familiar with in America is the overconsumption of food and drink. Not only food which I think we all usually can assume is gluttony but also drink. When we find ourselves eating, did you ever have that feeling where you eat and you’re full but you feel lousy and you’re not satisfied? That would be gluttony. When we try to consume, to fill this void that we have in us, to try to satisfy what only God can satisfy. The fourth is greed, so the desire for and love of possessions. The catechism says that sin is a failure and genuine love for God and neighbor caused by the pervasive attachment to certain goods. So greed, same thing with that, you know when you just want more and more and more. As kids that could be more toys or games, as adults that could be more toys and games or wealth you know, it’s just wanting more wealth, wanting to get as much as you possibly can. The fifth one is sloth or it’s called Acadia sometimes. This is physical laziness. Also, disinterest in spiritual matters and particularly laziness when it comes to spiritual matters or neglecting spiritual growth. The catechism says Acadia, or spiritual sloth, goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to is repelled by divine goodness. Sloth would be moving away from spiritual things to earthly things and actually being repelled from God’s joy and wanting to be slothful or lazy instead. Six is anger/wrath. This is a popular one, uncontrolled feelings of hatred or rage. Anger is a desire for revenge and the Lord says everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. Anger is something that grows and grows and grows and builds and builds and we find ourselves not being satisfied with a little anger. We got to be angrier at somebody, we got to be angrier at the world, we got to be angrier at God. I look at the school shootings and what’s behind that, anger; more and more and more anger. And then finally, the seventh one is envy. This is sadness or desire for the possessions, happiness, talents, or abilities of another. Envy can lead to the worst crimes, through the devil’s envy, death entered the world. Envy is someone that looks at their neighbor’s house and says “I can’t stand that guy”. He’s got everything, and looking at another’s career and not being happy with ourselves because somebody else has a better career than us. Envy can be a whole multitude of things and when we’re like that it’s never enough, we could get a house just as big as that guy, and then we’re going to notice somebody else that’s got one bigger and all of a sudden we are envious of that person.
All of these seven deadly sins are sins that we think that if we’re just enough, or if we have enough or angry enough or whatever, we think we’re going to be satisfied. What we find is it’s never enough. It goes back to that relative of mine telling his younger child, you’re always searching for that original high, that first high and you’ll never get it again. It’s Satan constantly tempting us. It’s the Rolling Stones’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” So, how do we get satisfaction?
Well, we hear in the gospel today that when people ate of the bread of life, they ate and were satisfied. Right here is the only way that we can experience satisfaction on Earth. Now sometimes I know we come to the Eucharist and maybe don’t feel satisfied and I would say when that happens, don’t think that this miracle of the Eucharist doesn’t happen on the altar and that God isn’t doing something. As opposed to that maybe think, maybe there’s something that I’m not doing or maybe there’s some way that I’m not prepared or maybe I’m not coming to the Eucharist really desiring to receive this satisfaction. Maybe I’m too attached to one of these seven deadly sins, maybe I’m too attached to trying to find satisfaction in anything but Jesus. And so, as you receive the Eucharist today, I just want you to, first of all, try to feel that satisfaction. Really just ask God for that Grace to feel the satisfaction of receiving him and eating him. Then I think if you’re having trouble feeling that satisfaction again, pray for that grace but then if you’re not, try to think about what could I be doing any of these seven deadly sins that are keeping me from being satisfied in the Lord. Am I seeking satisfaction in something or someone else besides the Lord?
Because we can all eat today and be satisfied. We celebrate this great feast of Corpus Christi where we eat the body and blood soul and Divinity of Christ. We have God within us who is the only one that can satisfy and so let’s all pray for that Grace that we may receive the Eucharist today and be satisfied.