Overcoming Feelings of Jealousy and Envy

By |2018-09-23T21:30:04+08:00September 23rd, 2018|Catholicism, Personal Reflection, Reflection on Readings|0 Comments

Have you ever been in this situation? You are working on this project together with a group of colleagues be it at school, office, or church. You feel that you are giving it your all, even more than your colleagues combined. However, the end of the project another member of the group was recognized and given credit for the project’s success.

Here’s another. You and a neighbor are both working professionals. You have more or less similar family incomes. You and your family can barely make ends meet while your neighbor has the luxury of the latest car, home appliances, and even trips abroad.

My mother often reminded me to “never to look up, but instead look down”. She didn’t want me to compare myself to others more fortunate and focus on what I don’t have, rather look to those who are less fortunate than I am and be thankful for what I have. She also kept on reminding me to be happy for another person’s success. Both my parents shared experiences in their life about similar situations I described above, but yet they were happy and content. I never heard them gripe about the situation we were in. I certainly never got the latest toy, but then my wants were simpler then because somehow I knew what we could afford or not, so I never asked for much.

This 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, St. Mark tells us in Gospel how the disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest among them. Jesus of course, set them straight.

33 They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 35 Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” 36 Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Mark 9:33-37 | NABRE

Jesus then uses a chld to stress his point. A child isn’t concerned much about being great or better than each other. They are not concerned about winning or losing in games. Well maybe a little, but not as much as grown-ups do in the game we call daily life.

Sadly there are instances when allow feelings of jealousy and envy to consume us. When we allow this to happen, it opens us up for Satan to entet and we begin to entertain evil thoughts like wishing them harm. Before we know it evil thoughts lead to speaking ill of the person we are jealous or envious of. This is what St. James speaks of in the 2nd Reading.

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.

James 3:16 | NABRE

and

1 Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?

James 4:1 | NABRE

Ultimately, if we are not careful, jealousy and envy can lead us to harm others. The Chief Priests and scribes became jealous and envious of Jesus and this lead to anger and eventully brought up charges against Him. The 1st Reading from the Book of Wisdom serves as a prophesy to what happened to Jesus.

Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him in the end. 18 For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help himand deliver him from the hand of his foes. 19 With violence and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentlenessand try his patience. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

Wisdom of Solomon 2:17c-20 | NABRE

Instead of allowing feelings of jealousy or envy to grow, we should replace such feelings with joy — be happy for the other person’s success. Praying for humility in such cases will help a lot. I have recently encountered this prayer called the Litany of Humility:

Lord Jesus. Meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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