St. Thomas Aquinas’s Guide to Turning Away from False Goods & False Gods, by Dr. Kevin Vost

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By Dr. Kevin Vost, Catholic Exchange, November 22, 2019

Dr. Kevin Vost, Psy D. is the author of Memorize the FaithThe Seven Deadly SinsThe One Minute Aquinas, as well as numerous other books and articles. He has taught psychology at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and MacMurray College. He is a Research Review Committee Member for American Mensa, which promotes the scientific study of human intelligence. You can find him at

“The ultimate and principal good of man is the enjoyment of God.”  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II, 23, 7

Dr. Kevin Vost

I imagine that if you are like me, it is one thing to agree that our goal should be the attainment of bliss in heaven with God (and an easy thing to agree on, at that), but quite another thing to live our lives with our eyes fixed on God rather than on ourselves. Since the Fall of Adam and Eve, we’ve all had a battle against sin on our hands. Sin takes our eyes off our heavenly goal and redirects them toward far less worthy things.

St. Thomas wrote that “inordinate self-love is the cause of ev­ery sin” (I-II, 77, 4). “Inordinate” means disordered, unrestrained, and inappropriate. It means love of the lower, bodily, animal self over one’s spiritual soul; love of simple pleasures, of money, of false gods of every sort in place of love for God.

The Deadly Sins & Our Gaze of God

All sins remove our gaze from God and place it on ourselves in one way or another. Lust, for example, has always been very good at tempting us to accept far less than the best. Through lust we fixate on people’s bodies and remain blind to the souls within them, made in the image and likeness of God.

Through gluttony we live to eat, rather than eating to live. Through greed we obsess about obtaining worldly things. Through anger we lash out at those who keep us from our sensuous and worldly goals. Through envy we are saddened by the thought that others may have more things or more fun than we do. Through pride we most directly and deliberately shift our goal from serving God to serving ourselves, doing everything our way. ….

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