Seven Deadly Sins: The Sin of Pride
Whenever we pit ourselves against Church teaching and act as our own Magisterium, we reveal that we are in the grip of deadly pride.
Pride hits us in our strengths, leading us to take full credit for our achievements without gratitude to God or others.
Few of us oppose God openly as Satan did, but whenever we pit ourselves against Church teaching and act as our own Magisterium, we reveal that we are in the grip of deadly pride. “I did it my way” is the anthem of the proud.
Pride hits us in our strengths, leading us to take full credit for our achievements without gratitude to God or others. Boasting seeks the adulation of others, while pride judges the weaknesses of others by criticizing them openly or interiorly.
Vanity about one’s intelligence or achievements, the superiority of one’s social circumstances or the “higher moral ground” one thinks he holds on social issues has contributed greatly to our inability to engage in civil discourse on many important questions. The lack of manners and respect rampant on TV talk shows are only one example of pride at work.
Closer to home, many common courtesies have been abandoned. Have we taught our children, for example, to greet people when they enter a room and say “Good bye” when they leave? Are we gracious in our conversations around the dinner table? Rudeness, sarcasm, ridicule, or belittling shows the narcissism and individualism that reigns in many hearts.
The proud person feels he has the right to seize and secure his place in the world and that others owe him respect and reward. When these are not forthcoming, he might erupt with verbal or physical anger or seethe with envy and malice.
The Catechism defines pride as “an inordinate self-esteem or self-love, which seeks attention and honor and sets oneself in competition with God (#1866). Webster’s dictionary adds vanity, vainglory, conceit, arrogance, egotism, boastfulness, self-glorification, and selfishness to the definition of pride.
Does this mean that self-esteem is always wrong? There is confusion about the similarities and differences between genuine self-esteem and pride. Obsession with intensive “self-care” as presented in many popular articles or a focus on feeling good about ourselves in spite of what we actually do all develop the deadly vice of pride.
Healthy self-esteem, on the other hand, might be better expressed by Aristotle’s term “magnanimity.” Magnanimity is a lofty or courageous spirit, nobility or generosity of mind that, as St Thomas says, confirms the mind and helps the person stand firm in seeking to achieve the greatest goods. Magnanimity brings us up to our full stature in God, not in pride.
A proper self-respect rests on knowing we are made in the image of God and that every soul has infinite value. God intended for us to be born, has a place for us in the world and has given us true gifts to be used in loving and obedient service of others. Our self-worth rests unassailably on God Himself, so it is not necessary to climb above others for our place in the world. It is given.
We have only to accept this gift, but that requires humility, the antidote to pride. Many of us mistakenly think humility buries our gifts and talents, but humility is based on truth -- a true assessment of the abilities, gifts, and talents God has given. These gifts are not given to puff us up but to be used in loving and obedient service.
Humility empowers and energizes us to great works of magnanimity, because, as St. Francis de Sales says in the Introduction to the Devout Life, “the proud man who trusts in himself has good reason not to attempt anything. The humble man is all the more courageous because he recognizes his own impotence. The less he esteems himself, the more daring he becomes because he places his whole trust in God.”
St. Paul tells us to have Christ’s attitude, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, coming in human likeness and . . . humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed upon him the name that is above every name. . .” (Phil 2:4-11)
If the Lord Himself was humble, who are we to stand firm in pride and arrogance? If the Lord Himself was obedient, who are we to set ourselves in defiance against God? Instead, as we move into the Holy Triduum and prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery, let us take our towels and wash the feet of others, hoping to be raised up with Him in the Resurrection.
Jeri Holladay writes from Wichita, Kansas, where she has been Director of Adult Education at the Spiritual Life Center of the Diocese of Wichita, Associate Professor of Theology, Chairman of the Theology Department and founding Director of the Bishop Eugene Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies at Newman University. She teaches moral theology and church history and is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal: That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- Missing The Point of Easter
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- Easter: Through the Octave and Beyond!
- The Happy Priest on Easter: He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear
- Holy Saturday: 'Make Sure He's Dead'
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Good Friday: The Church Born From the Wounded Side of Christ Pauses at the Cross
- Reflection on the Nature of Sin for Good Friday
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Alex Basile - Catholic Online, 4/10/2015
Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made ...Continue Reading
Fr. James Farfaglia - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted. When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of ...Continue Reading
Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. Saint Augustine shares this ...Continue Reading
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »