How can counseling help against the seven sins?
The role of the Christian Counselor goes beyond the mere guidance in times of crisis or trouble but is a role that takes upon mentorship and spiritual guidance in everyday life as well.A spiritual adviser within Catholic circles is usually a priest, but within Christianity as a whole, many lay men and women take upon this role in character formation of their spiritual children.Hence Christian mentorship and spiritual guidance become core elements in Christian Spiritual Counseling. In accepting this role, the Christian counselor becomes a moral compass, guiding his or her spiritual children through the wilderness of the world.
Moral guidance is especially important. In guiding other souls, the Christian counselor points to the commandments, scripture, and God as sources of inspiration to instill virtue. The Christian counselor also guides the soul from sources that instill vice. In looking at the tree of vice, one must pin point the
people should train their mind to control their passions via abstinence, fasting, and denial. Yet the senses are powerful things and in many cases can gain the upper hand. The primary four vices connected to the senses are sloth, greed, gluttony and lust.
The final two vices deal more with a deeper reaction that goes beyond the initial senses but involves a deep recollection of the object and the agent’s correlation with that object. In such cases, wrath and envy manifest themselves. In the case of wrath, the object upsets the agent and induces an emotional state within the mind that results in violence, unjust anger, and hate. In the case of envy, the object induces an unjust desire of wanting what is not legally the agent’s possession. These reactions are more complex than the previous four because
while they do initially stem from the senses, they eventually are analyzed by the intellect.
As Christian counselors, when encountering these spiritual maladies in their spiritual children, they should look for the roots of these vices and what is causing the particular vice. Is there a particular occasion or place that induces this vice? Also a counselor should look to scripture and other pious sources for ways to combat this particular vice and demon. In most cases, abstinence, denial, fasting and prayer become excellent weapons against the particular sin. Also, usually the virtue that polarly correlates with the vice is the best remedy; for example, humility to fight pride, or patience to fight anger. There is a virtue that counters every capital sin.
In attempting to cultivate the virtues necessary to fight vice, praying to the Holy Spirit for his grace, gifts and virtues becomes the essential and first step. The Holy Spirit’s gifts, grace and virtues strengthen the Christian in his or her particular charisms and spiritual talents. Also, one should encourage those within the various traditions of Christianity to take advantage of various rituals to enhance their connection with God and to spiritually strengthen their soul. In Protestant circles, this may include prayer circles services and other gatherings, while in Catholic circles they may also include sacramental participation. Use of the sacrament of reconciliation and frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist are excellent sources for Catholics to strengthen their moral armor against sin. In the end, both traditions should take advantage of the rich divine words of Scripture.
If you are interested in becoming certified as a Christian Counselor, pleaser review the program.
By Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C