“Our job is not to evacuate envy or jealousy, but to acknowledge it”

Catherine Aubin is a Dominican, holds a master’s degree in psychology and is a theologian. She teaches spiritual and sacramental theology in Rome (Italy) and Montreal (Canada). In her conferences and in her writings, she defines the diseases or passions of the soul and suggests ways, solutions in the school of the Church Fathers. Maintenance.

“Without being confused, jealousy and envy have certain similarities”, you write in your book To die of envy or to live for love? Jealousy, an obstacle to our spiritual life. How to differentiate them?

According to Saint Francis de Sales, jealousy concerns one’s own good: As long as his wife is not taken from him, the husband is not jealous. While if all the men look at his wife, he will be. Jealousy thus relates to a desire for exclusivity and possession over a good that one considers to be one’s own.

As for envy, instead of carrying on my good (my husband, my wife …), it refers to a good that someone else possesses. Never satisfied, the envious will always want more. In envy and desire, instead of building our personality, we will look at what the other has, what he is. Something distracts us from our deep calling, which calls us to be blessing, praise, child of God. We are no longer in our central axis

I am also struck to see that unlike other spiritual diseases, envy and jealousy bring no pleasure, no outward pleasure (food for gluttony, possessions for greed …). If I start to get jealous of my colleague, it will lead to rivalry, competition, evil, slander, evil …

The rosary is large. If I’m in the mood, I’m never satisfied, on the contrary. Let us look at the eldest son in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32): he is jealous of his brother because he will have a lot of things that he does not have. But I think if the father had said, “I give you as much as your brother,” the eldest son would not have been satisfied …

PWhy does jealousy generate more shame than another burden (greed, laziness, etc.)?

We do not like to say that we are jealous as we do not like to see our shortcomings. There is something in us that does not look at itself with benevolence. Our task, however, is not to evacuate envy or jealousy, but to recognize it, to speak to it. And to first rediscover what is beautiful in us. For it is not jealousy, but the grace of God in us that is the primary.

Greed, greed or lust comes from outside. In jealousy, there is more of an ego problem and a fear of the image that we need to send back to the other. There is a secret in us, something hidden, in relation to a fundamental, primary and inevitable question: “How can it be that I am not the center of the world? The second question, which is equally fundamental and affects everyone, is: “Why am I not a favorite? The third: “Why am I missing something?” We are all affected by jealousy, but to varying degrees, and not jealous or envious at the same time.

Behind, would lodge a wound of love?

Absolutely. And if I admit to this friend that I’m jealous of his relationship with such a person, will he then continue to love me? It takes a lot of courage to say it, as one may fear being humiliated but also hurt. For jealousy is a wound where one does not trust either the other or oneself. In contrast to greed or greed, jealousy and envy constitute a wound in the relationship with the other and in the relationship between oneself and oneself: of a bad self-love. There is a hole in us that will never be filled. I have to cross this break, tame it, because it’s through it that the other becomes my brother …

You write that envy and jealousy are a form of deadly fire extinguisher …

With these spiritual diseases, the gift received is extinguished, therefore life is extinguished. The relationship to the gift in relation to itself is not adjusted: When we are all endowed with talents, how can it be that we are not sufficiently satisfied with our inner countries? As Maître Eckhart says, there is a way to “let go” that can be understood as not clinging. We are both very possessive in relation to our society, our status, our diplomas, our jobs …

There is something there that comes from the bad inner posture, with this fear that it will stop, or to be displaced. But the more you are detached from what you have and what you are, the less you are jealous and envious. Let us taste the gifts of today, which, if they stop tomorrow, will be followed by other gifts.

Where does this spiritual disease come from?

Jalousi is equipped with a mix of sources. The first is childhood. If the child in his family is emotionally reassured and safe, he becomes less jealous. Then remains part of the mystery. Through Cain, Abel, and the many fratricides in the Bible, we are asked to grasp within ourselves this ability for the worst as well as the best. It seems to me that in Cain’s jealousy of Abel we touch on original sin. To Cain, who had the choice to kill or not to be jealous or not, the Lord asks: “Why is your face down?” (Genesis 4, 6).

Our jealousy puts us in front of a decision before our freedom. This story tells us that throughout our lives we will suffer objective and obvious injustices. We will always be surrounded by people who are more beautiful, wiser than us. The sick will be confronted with those who are healthy; the single person, surrounded by couples. In large families, there will be affiliation between brothers and sisters, between parents and some of their children. But should I admit, yes or no, that these injustices are a part of life?

How to deal with these?

It’s not about doing, but about how one is. The Bible teaches us: what do you build inside you? There is no answer or recipe, but what I do know is that the trials, failures, breaches, injustices that happen to us tell us, “What are you doing with this?”, “What are you doing with it? We have an inner strength within us, and the positive side of jealousy and envy is to make us see the power of our desire.So what do we do with this desire?

The washing of Jesus’ feet also comes to give us an answer. He is with Peter and Judas, who are very jealous, and now he comes to take this jealousy, these dirty feet, in his hands. To get out of it is therefore to open it up to greater than oneself, because our own jealousy is beyond us.

How does jealousy actually give us a choice?

When, for example, we are jealous of a complicity between two of our loved ones: we may either feel rejected and cultivate this feeling or marvel at this relationship. In this other way, it takes nothing from us, on the contrary. This requires working on oneself: do I look at my dissatisfied needs or at the best for those of them and the community that follows from it between the three of us? Working on your jealousy means changing your inner place, sometimes by a millimeter. Change posture to see things differently.

Can a jealous reaction be fair, legitimate to someone who does not take enough care of the relationship?

Faced with this situation, we may ask ourselves if we are putting ourselves in the other person’s place. He or she may be going through something we do not know. And as I said, you can quickly be tempted to take yourself to the center of the world. In jealousy, we do not put ourselves in the other person’s place, so we see it with a distorted eye.

A jealous person can be oppressive, guilty, and make life difficult for us. How to react as a Christian?

There we must say that it is his problem and not ours. Jesus was a victim of jealousy from start to finish, and we can say that his death on the cross is not independent of the jealousy of all those around him. Christ had to face the jealousy of his peers and his apostles. Faced with this, he was neither a victim, an accuser, nor an executioner. And he asks us to stand, follow him, in this relationship with the Father and continue to walk.

I do not have a solution, but what I do know is that we must not turn it off. And that it is obvious that I must not provoke jealousy. So you need a lot of humility and modesty.

God seems to have special relationships with certain people … how can one not be envious?

It is not on God’s side, but on ours side that this is played out. For her part, her look of love on us is unconditional. But me, I answer him, to this love? “Who am I in your eyes, Lord? This is Catherine of Siena’s big question. Unlike social networks that ask everyone” Who am I? “, The saint does not ask the question to those around her, but to God. And I, from whom do I expect recognition? Moses will ask the same question, and God will answer him: “Go. I am therefore what I am, insofar as I go towards others, where I give myself to them.

I therefore see two points for curing jealousy: the building of one’s inner self, in the relationship with the Father and in fellowship with others. Two axes therefore: one vertical, of intimacy with the Father, and the other horizontal, of construction with its brethren. “Am I sitting in this center, or am I moving to the right or left, to be against the others and to forget where I am coming from and where I am going? »

At the time of social networking precisely, and comparison at all costs, are we not in an era that generates a lot of jealous and envious people, without their knowledge?

Social networking favors comparison, which brings us to where it should not. Once again we are deported with her. When I compare myself to others, does it make me grow in my relationship with God and with others? Am I placing myself in community or division? Do I want to be self-centered or do I get along with others? Unfortunately, the main purpose of social networking is not to be involved, but to position oneself “against you or in relation to you”.

What about this “jealous God” that the Bible speaks of?

Jesus is truly “full of jealousy” when he becomes angry in the temple. This is a zeal of love. When God is jealous of the Bible, he is jealous that man is turning away from him. That he is no longer face to face. It is not a jealousy of exclusivity, but a jealousy to put us back in a living relationship with him. For if I walk away from him, I walk in death.

As in all spiritual diseases, is there not exactly a return to God – in the sense of repentance – to operate to heal? You write in your book: “Let yourself be loved as the only one”

That is completely correct. Do I deeply believe that I am unique? We have unique fingerprints, votes… just to name a few. We know all this, so why does it not come down to us spiritually? If I do not cultivate my gifts, no one will do it for me. How can it be that the discourse of the Church is no more avant-garde by saying, “Be what you are to become, for if you are not, it is not your neighbor who will do it. »

An affective, psychological, and spiritual lifestyle must be maintained: knowing yourself and acknowledging who you are. Without it, the other becomes a rival. Saint Thérèse inspires so many people because she went to the heart of this jealousy and envy. So, at some point in her story, she shifts and picks up this sentence from a hymn: “I rejoice, Lord, in all the wonders you have done for me.”

Will I get used to changing my gaze to see what God is doing in my life, instead of seeing what He is not doing? Such is repentance: the change of perspective in which I side with him. Jesus does not ask us for moral rules or regulations. The only thing he asks us to imitate is his familiarity with the Father. Intimacy alone is able to fulfill us.

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