Daily Reflection May 7 2008: Wednesday the Seventh Week of Easter

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Collect of the Day:

God of mercy unite your Church in the Holy Spirit that we may serve you with all our hearts and work together with unselfish love.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Act of the Apostles: 20:28-38: I commend you to God, who has power to build you up and to give you an inheritance.

The Gospel: John: 17:11-19: May they be as one as we are.

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues Part Two: PRIDE.

If it can be said that “The love of money, is the root of all evil”. It can be rightly said then, that PRIDE is the root of all Sin. For it was PRIDE that led to the rebellion of Satan and the Angels that followed him, and it was PRIDE that led to the Fall of Humanity in the Garden of Eden.

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us in “Summa Theologica“: Pride is the first sin, the source of all other sins, and the worst sin. He defines pride as an excessive desire for ones own excellence which rejects subjection to God. It is the worst sin, Aquinas argues, because it is of its very nature an aversion from God and his commandments, something that is indirectly or consequently true of all sins.

Pride is the source of all other sins, Aquinas argues, in the sense that it is first in intention. First, every sin begins in turning from God and hence all sins begin in pride. Second, he argues, the motive for acquiring all the lesser goods, one prefers to God is pride, that through them one ‘may have some perfection and excellence’ (quandam perfectionem et excellentiam).

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis calls pride the `great sin’ and says this about it:

“There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people except Christians ever imagine that they are guilty themselves…. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.”

Proverbs 16:18 tells us:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Also in I peter 5:5 we learn:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

But can we still in modern times regard pride in such a fashion? Aren’t we told by the Media, Therapists and Self Help Gurus that we need pride in ourselves, our nation, our sexuality, our race, our gender etc if we are going to live healthy and productive lives? To a certain extent this is true and healthy. Although when any form of pride becomes excessive and begins to replace the Love of God and Neighbour as the main priority in our lives, it becomes excessively unhealthy.

We only have to look at Nazi Germany, Rwanda, China and Tibet and other areas where ethnic cleansing has been used to see where the excess of National or Racial pride leads. Or how extreme Feminism can become a form of replacing one form of oppression with another. The most important fact to remember when thinking about pride is to realise that its Contrary Virtue is not embarrassment but HUMILITY.

So we can still be proud of who we are and what we represent, but we are to be humble about it. Never forgetting that we all are stewards of God’s gifts and that everything we are or have comes from Him, and without Him all we have or achieve counts for nought. The Early Fathers of the Church knew of this important truth. St. John Cassian tells us:

“One cannot reach the goal of perfection and purity except through true humility, displayed first of all to one’s sisters and brothers, and shown to God in one’s inmost heart. For without His protection and aid extended at every instant, one cannot obtain the perfection one desires.”

Today I would like to let St. Anthony the Great leave with a profound meditation:

“I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get through from such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility’.”

Msgr. Ian+

A Prayer for Humility

This prayer was written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), the secretary of state for Pope Saint Pius X. It is a very good daily prayer, especially when recited in front of a crucifix so that we can recall the humility of Christ.

You should recite the italicized responses (“deliver me, O Jesus” for the first two thirds of the prayer and “O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it” for the final third) after each line of the litany.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That, in the opinion of the world, others may, increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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