In this depiction we see Cain killing his brother Abel because God favored the blood sacrifice of Abel over Cain's offering of the fruits of the field. Cain became jealous of his brother and decided to kill him.
God is holy which means he is whole, unity, Self, in harmony with his being and He created man in harmony with God, self and others. Man now, however, is the disfigured image of God. In his heart he discoverers an ingrained tendency toward self, to judge all things in relation to himself or herself. He has lost his focus upon God and experiences tendencies toward Pride, Avarice, Envy, Lust, Anger, Gluttony and Sloth leading to further disintegration of the self.
|Pride||is too great an admiration of oneself and the ultimate stage is to make oneself his own law, judge, morality, to make oneself a god. It manifests itself in many ways such as boasting, self-glorification, love of publicity, hypocrisy, discord and disobedience.|
|Avarice||is the perversion of the natural right to own things which minister to his body and soul. It manifest the drive to get rich and an unwillingness to share the wealth to others. It may reach a point where he or she no longer feels the need of God. One day St. Anthony was attending the funeral of a rich man when he spoke out and said that he should not be buried in sacred ground but outside the walls of the city because the deceased was in hell and his heart was not in his body. When they opened the rich man's chest they did not find the heart but fund, according to St. Anthony prediction, his heart in the place where he kept his money.|
|Envy||Is inordinate self-love fearing the superiority of others to oneself. One who is envious seeks to drag down the reputation of others by telebearing, gossip and lies. Jealousy is the dislike or hatred of a person who appears to be loved more than I am. Here we may recall that Saul tried to kill David more than once because he had become more popular than himself.|
|Lust||is an inordinate love of the pleasures of the flesh. In Dante's Inferno we read that the Queen of Assyria, Semiramis "licensed every form of lust with laws to cleanse the stain of scandal she had spread". (Canto V.54-58) Bishop Sheen points out that "The effect of lust on the will is to develop a hatred of God and a denial of immortality."|
|Anger||Anger is a emotional (psycho/physical) response to a perceived threat to self or important others, present, past, or future. It manifests itself as temper, vindictiveness, tantrums, revenge or the desire to get even. Sometimes anger is justified as when Christ drove out the sellers from the temple with a whip. One, however, who is given often to anger loses his or her psycho-physical equilibrium and the peace necessary to live in union with God and in harmony with others.|
|Gluttony||is the abuse of eating and drinking meant to sustain life. It tends to enslave the soul to the body and weakens the intellectual and moral life of man. The use of unlawful drugs has this same effect. Satisfaction is sought only in the feelings of the body and the euphoria it creates in the mind. In our American culture we see the effects of overeating or eating foods high in fat and sugar. Overweight robs the individual of good health of the body which we should care for as a gift from God.|
|Sloth||lies in the will to neglect of one's duties but above all is the neglect to worship God. The spiritual life is seen as difficult, boring and repulsive. This leads to a propensity only for earthly realities and the seeking of happiness only in this life. This is one reason why the Church insists that neglect to worship God on Sunday is a grave sin unless prevented by a serious reason. (Cath. of Catholic Church, #2175)|
Definitions of Capital Sins taken primarily from: Fulton J. Sheen, Lift Up your Hearts, Doubleday & Co, Garden City, NY, 1950, pp.82-89
Note: We say that the sin of Adam and Eve was one of pride, and that it was within a primordial nature. Pride is now an inclination toward self within our fallen nature. In Adam and Eve there was no such inclination because their natures were inclined to surrender to God. They had no temptation (in our sense) to choose the self --no passion or inclination obstinately inclining that way - nothing, but the bare fact that the self was himself or herself. (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, HarperSanFrancisco, 1940, pp. 76-77)
In each man there is one of these tendencies which predominates and tears him away from the original harmony of man as created by God. These experienced human tendencies we call temptations. They are not sins in themselves but promptings toward wrong doing which, if acted upon, leads us toward further disintegration or disharmony with God, Self and Others. Further, in losing this primordial unity of nature and grace, man's body became subject to death.
We sum this up in the words of St. Paul--
then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?"