Four Hundred Texts on Love (Third Century) 44

91.  You will find it hard to check the resentment of an envious person, for what he envies in you he considers his own misfortune. You cannot check his envy except by hiding from him the thing that arouses his passion. If this thing benefits many but fills him with resentment, which side will you take? You have to help the majority but without, as far as possible, disregarding him, and without being seduced by the cunning of the passion itself, for you are defending not the passion but the sufferer. You must in humility consider him superior to yourself, and always, everywhere and in every matter put his interest above yours. As for your own envy, you will be able to check it if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves, thus fulfilling St Paul’s words, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep’ (Rom. 12:15).

Envy is a form of resentment that is particularly insidious. When envy is at work, recovery can be long and difficult as St. Maximos outlines above. I often find it difficult to truly believe some of the people with whom I interact are superior to myself. Even when I’m able to perceive it, which is difficult in and of itself, acting on that perception is never easy.

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