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DO NOT read this book unless you are willing to change the way you think about sin.
I found Dr. Kevin Vost’s book The Seven Deadly Sins: A Thomistic Guide to Vanquishing Vice and Sin to be well-organized, enlightening, and is causing me grief as the Lord has tried to help me deal with some of my sins.
This was the first of Vost’s books that I have ever read, and I am looking forward to reading his other works. While there are a few points when professor Yoast comes out, by and large he takes his wisdom about Thomas Aquinas and explains it easier to understand language.
Development of the Theology of the Seven Deadly Sins
If you are interested in how the theology of the seven deadly sins developed then the first part of the book will be a treat to you. As a new fan of Thomas Aquinas, I particularly enjoyed chapter 7 to understand more of how “the dumb ox” thought. If you do skip these first seven chapters be forewarned that Vost — as a good teacher — frequently refers those mentioned in this first part.
The Sins and Their Daughters
The second part of the book is amazing. He has a chapter for each one of the vices: Sloth, greed, avarice, vainglory, gluttony, lust, and wrath. My original intention was to loan my copy of the book to my wife so that we could have something to talk about but I ended up marking up these seven chapter so much that I might need to buy her another copy.
Vost breaks down our understanding of each one of the vices using Scripture, Church teaching, and the words of Thomas Aquinas. He talks about the daughters of each vice — the sins associated with the seven deadly ones.
For example, envy has five daughters: hatred, tail bearing, detraction, joy at another’s misfortune, and grief at another’s prosperity. Reading the definition of the vices and their daughters helped me see how easy it is to commit one of the seven deadly sins.
The chapter that caused me the most problems was the one on wrath. This is an issue I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. While the Lord is helping me overcome my anger issues, I still have a long way.
Vost presents a table about halfway through this chapter talking about the ABCs of emotional disturbance. In that table, he presents the Thomistic-Christian way of reacting when somebody wrongs us as opposed to what is considered normal by most people.
About a week after I read this chapter, I had a situation where I could have responded as the world does or as Aquinas suggests: I picked the former. Had I not recently read this book, I probably would have thought nothing of the incident but now that I am aware of the truth, I went confession the following week.
If you have any interest in living a life worthy of your calling, I would highly recommend getting a copy of Dr. Vost’s book The Seven Deadly Sins.
Saint Thomas teaches that “sin is nothing else than a bad human act. Now that an act is a human act is due to its being voluntary…as being elicited by the will.” (Summa, Question 71, article 6) Sin is knowing what is wrong and choosing it anyway. Saint Paul tells us (Romans 6:23) that reward of living a sinful life is death; separation from God forever. Too many of us are willingly committing the subtle sins that separates from the love of God.
This book has opened my eyes to the scope of sin. If we do all the suggestions Vost has for us to avoid sin, several saints will be made from this book.
Title: The Seven Deadly Sins: A Thomistic Guide to Vanquishing Vice and Sin by Kevin Vost
Page Count: 207
Publisher: Sophia Institute press (May 19, 2015)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-Kevin-Vost/dp/162282234X
Cost: $9.95 Kindle $15.95 Paperback