Choose a topic from Part 2B:

76. Injustice in Words: Cursing

1. Cursing is either a wish or a command that another beafflicted with evil. As a command, cursing is sometimes lawful;thus, a judge imposing penalty, or the Church pronouncing anathema,involves no injustice or sin. But we usually understand cursing asthe wish, expressed in strong terms, that another may be afflictedwith evil.

2. Cursing irrational things is, in itself, mere vain andfutile speech; it is not really cursing at all. When such cursingof irrational things is actually cursing, it has reference topeople. Thus when the Lord said (Gen. 3:17), "Cursed is theearth in thy work," he meant that the barrenness of the earthis a penalty put upon sinful man. And when David cursed themountains of Gelboe (II Kings 1:21), he did so because of thepeople who had been slaughtered there. Likewise, when Job cursedhis day (Job 3:1) he was referring to the miseries that people mustendure in this world.

3. Cursing as an evil wish against other persons is a sin.It is directly contrary to charity, and it strikes against justice.Therefore, in its genus or kind, it is a mortal sin. But,in its actual performing, cursing is frequently mere vain speech,even when it is directed against persons. It is seldom used withattention to its meaning, or with any thought of having an evilwish fulfilled. A man who "damns" another, or tells himto "go to hell," has usually no wish at all to see theother suffer harm; he has no thought of wishing that the personaddressed should undergo the punishment of hell. He is merely usinga coarse, uncouth, and nearly meaningless expression that isreadily learned andhabitually used to give vent to strongfeeling in almost any trying situation.

4. Cursing, even when it is actually worthy of the name and istherefore sinful, is usually not so grave a sin as backbiting.Backbiting actually inflicts an injury; cursing only wishes injuryto be inflicted.

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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