The prescription for pride

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

If there were a diagnosis of a rampant disease and resultant condition, exhibiting horrific, degenerative corruptions, both within and without ourselves and all of humankind, we may be certain there would be an onslaught of research and charities established to combat it. The insidious disease and condition are so prevalent amongst us, but there is very little being done to combat the number one killer of humankind, so rampant in our midst. This mellifluous disease is called pride, and has been most rampageous throughout the many millennia of humankind. Yet, for the faithful, there is a cure.

Saint Augustine, in his monumental work, “Explaining the Psalms,” expresses it: “Pride asserts, humility testifies. The proud want to seem what they are not. The one who gives testimony, does not want to appear what he is not, but to love what, in the full sense, is.”

The Godly virtue of humility, when juxtaposed with sin-full pride, makes these stark observations possible. The contrasts between virtues and sins are quite stark. Seemingly, the proud are always making themselves out to be something what they may be in a small way, but not to the extent that they claim to be. The truly humble, on the other hand, are those who make observations and efforts to make others better, not to make them worse. In their humility, they are most quick to point out the standards they are using are Christ’s, and not their own.

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Amazingly, the truly humble rejoice when people succeed, where they did not. They point out their own failures, their own shortcomings, rather than wasting effort in a futile attempts to cover them up.

They take responsibility for their errors, and do not seek to blame others for them. Pride does the exact opposite, in each of these cases.

“Mere Christianity,” so eloquently written by C. S. Lewis, says this: ���The command, be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.” Many folks seem to have a difficulties with this and often wrestle with the challenge, Some may say, “Well, I know I cannot be perfect, so why bother with the effort?” As difficult as this idea is, Jesus said it, to us and for us, and we must seek to live up to it.

Again, this is not a request, but a command.

The difficulty comes when we truly awaken to the reality we are imperfect people and completely unable to live up to the virtuous ideal Jesus sets before us. However, Mr. Lewis sets the record straight when he makes the observation, “God is going to make us creatures that can obey this command.”

It is not that we will be perfect now, although this is still our goal. We must seek to become as perfect, as we are able, through the exercise of Christian virtues, even as we knowperfection will come, by the grace of God, in the next life.

Our Lord says in the Sermon on the Mount, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Righteousness is but right doing, Right doing is exercising ourselves in the eyes of God, and doing so virtuously and humbly placing ourselves in His purpose.

Virtue is the cornerstone of the Christian life and the prescription to address the disease of human pride.

Let us fill the prescription by humbly coming to Him, seeking His counsel and concentrate on living virtuously, with Him, and in Him.


By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins.