PEWSLAG — It’s worse than it sounds!

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Evagrius Ponticus (345 – 399 A.D.)

They are called the “Seven Deadly Sins,” not because they are worse than all the rest, but because they are gateway sins. They open the door to a world of further evils. For example, anger can open the door to slander, and, even murder.

Evagrius Ponticus was a rising young star of the faith. Wikipedia says he was “One of the most influential theologians in the late fourth-century church, he was well known as a thinker, polished speaker, and gifted writer.” In 380 A.D., he traveled to Constantinople with Gregory of Nazianzus, who had just been installed as bishop. Evangrius was promoted to deacon and then archdeacon. When Gregory left the big city, Evagrius stayed behind, enjoying all that that cosmopolitan city had to offer. Unfortunately, Constantinople offered many worldly attractions, and Evagrius became infatuated with a married woman. Fortunately, in time, he came to his senses and fled to Jerusalem and chose to live a monastic life, but sadly, even in Jerusalem, temptations found him. Evagrius found himself taking particular pride in his dress “and spent much of his time sauntering through the streets of the cosmopolitan Holy City.”[1]

It was too much. Evagrius was forced to choose to be a disciple or not. He fled to the deserts of Egypt and began writing. He was primarily concerned with teaching young Christians in a manner they could understand. Rather than discussing all the many different varieties of temptations and sins that can beset a Christian, he tried to narrow the list by grouping them under eight headings. Later these were narrowed by Gregory to what we now call the “Seven Deadly Sins.” Here is a simple acronym to help you remember them: PEWSLAG.

  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Wrath (anger)
  • Sloth
  • Lust
  • Avarice (greed)
  • Gluttony

We’ll spend some time exploring them in the days to come.

  [1] Downloaded from Wikipedia, April 27, 2020.

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