Growing in Zeal

Zeal, or diligence, is associated with the beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). We all have hungers, but zeal helps order our hunger toward God and give us the diligence to seek union with God passionately and do good for others. Zeal combats the ugly sin of sloth. While sloth makes us lazy in our spiritual lives, zeal gives us the fervent, action-oriented desire to progress forward, and, in doing so, we please God and find true happiness and peace.

What is zeal?

Zeal is a strong, action-oriented desire to advance in the spiritual life and move in the direction of righteousness. Zeal puts love into action and strengthens the resolution to progress in virtue and sanctity.

Living with zeal

The zealous person may: make spiritual things a priority each day (prayer, concern for others, Scripture reading, etc.), be setting spiritual goals for himself and tracking his progress over time, seek a spiritual director to help him as he tries to grow in virtue, be fervent in going good deeds for others, desire to keep learning more about the Faith, etc. 

What do the experts say?

“Zeal reveals to us all the difference between a world grown merely secular and old, and the youthfulness of Christian love.” –Anthony Esolen 

“Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.” –Romans 12:11

“Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.” –2 Thessalonians 3:13

“But do we hunger for goodness? Everyone hungers to receive good, but not everyone hungers to give good, for not everyone knows that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’” –Dr. Peter Kreeft


Zeal: The Forth Lively Virtue by Anthony Esolen

Zeal by Donald DeMarco

What sin will zeal remedy?