Envy: Its Malice and Destructiveness
There is nothing like envy for spreading sickness of mind and heart thoughout the whole body, until it eats into the very marrow of the bones. Envious people, we may say, adapting a quotation from Shakespeare,
... like serpents are, who though they feed
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.
... if I envy you for the good you have done, my envy not only misses the opportunity of making that good my own, it is fain to destroy whatever good you possess. Envy would rather your good did not exist, did not give glory to God or service to the neighbor; it begrudges you the merit of climbing a step higher up the path of moral goodness and perfection. And yet everyone else rejoices at the good you have done: God, His holy Angels, the Just, the sound of mind and the upright of heart. Only two beings are sad, only two people fret and consume with anguish -- the devil and envious me! What blindness! To perish by what brings health to others! To waste away on the strength of what imparts life and joy! What a dreadful calamity: another's gain, my loss; the good tidings of others, my sentence of doom!
Envy is a fire devouring and destroying every germ of life. Envy, by its very nature, is death and deals with death, being born of Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44). It was envy that instigated him to bring about the fall of our first parents, and by the envy of the devil death came into the world.
Envy was the evil genius which inspired the first human murderer to assassinate his own brother, on the noble score that this brother of his was a better man than he. It is envy that has put weapons into the hands of man, and so blinded man as to make him commit the foulest crimes that have ever stained the face of this earth. It was envy which challenged God Himself, persecuted Him, calumniated Him, nailed Him to the wood of the Cross --
For he (Pilate) knew that for envy they had
delivered Him.-- (Matt. 27:13)
No other passion could go to such an extreme; only in envy does there remain not a trace of common humanity... In order to defend its own interests, envy would sweep everything away, would annihilate even God Himself.
And all these horrors, the natural outcome of envy, arise when I am not guided by the principles of faith, when I care not a straw for God's glory and the welfare of souls; that is, when I foster but one love, self-love; the cruel idol at whose altar I have slaughtered every other love.