Faith Forum: Why is sloth considered a deadly sin?

Sloth can indicate spiritual laziness

The Rev. Brian List, chaplain, St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, 1631 Crescent Road:

We often think of a “couch potato” as being slothful. However, the sin of sloth does not refer to physical tiredness, fatigue or aversion to work, but rather to “spiritual laziness,” a carelessness or lack of enthusiasm about the life of my soul, the love of God and the mission he has given me. It is a weariness or boredom of the soul that leads to despair.

Jesus summed up man’s duties toward God in this saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And before he ascended into heaven Jesus commanded the apostles to spread this message – essentially to share the good news that we are infinitely loved by God and he desires to share his divine life with us – his happiness, his goodness.

The Catholic Church teaches that faith in God’s love encompasses the call and the obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity. Sloth is a sin against God’s love in that it goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness. It is a loss of hope in ever achieving what God wants for us: our eternal happiness. The slothful lack the courage and zeal for the great things that God has prepared for all who love him.

Until our souls dare to believe and have the courage and spiritual energy to comprehend that God is infinite love, who extends his hand to us in order to share his goodness and his happiness, our spiritual lives are stuck lying on the couch bored to death.

– Send e-mail to Brian List at

Proverbs describe undesirable trait

The Rev. Marshall Lackrone, pastor, Calvary Temple Assembly of God, 606 W. 29th St. Terrace:

The words sloth and slothfulness do not appear very much in daily conversation. To answer the question, a few Scriptures can give a very answer. Especially as we read the parable of Jesus about “The Talents” in Matthew 25:26 (King James version): “His lord answered and said unto him, ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed.'”

Jesus spoke the words to his followers, and yet in three verses before this he said in Matthew 25:23 (King James version): “His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'”

The Scriptures have many references to the sloth and slothfulness, and the Bible uses the word “sluggard” in the same vein in Proverbs 6:6-9 (King James version): Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: [7] Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, [8] Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. [9] How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?”

The animal known as a sloth is a tree-dwelling mammal noted for its slowness of movement. Jesus used everyday things to illustrate his messages, and the sloth was one such illustration. If slothfulness is not sin, it is at least not very desirable in Ecclesiastes 10:18 (King James version): “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.”

– Send e-mail to Marshall Lackrone at