Saturday, March 26, 2011

The sin of pride - more grievous than sins of the flesh.


The principal defects springing from pride are presumption, ambition, and vainglory.
Presumption is the desire and inordinate hope of doing what is above one's power.(16) The presumptuous man believes himself capable of studying and solving the most difficult questions; he settles the most abstruse problems with rash haste. He fancies that he has sufficient light to guide himself without consulting a director. Instead of building his interior life on humility, renunciation, fidelity to the duty of the present moment even in little things, he speaks particularly of magnanimity, of apostolic zeal, or indeed aspires to the immediate attainment of the high degrees of prayer without passing through the various stages, forgetting that he is still only a beginner, whose will is still weak and full of egoism. He is still full of self; a great void must be created in him in order that his soul may some day be filled with God and able to give Him to others.
From presumption springs ambition, under one form or another. Because a man presumes too greatly on his powers and judges himself superior to others, he wishes to dominate them, to impose on them his ideas in matters of doctrine, or to govern them. St. Thomas (17) says that a man manifests ambition when he seeks offices carrying with them honor which he does not merit; when he seeks honors for himself and not for the glory of God or the profit of others. How many schemes, secret solicitations, and intrigues ambition inspires in all walks of life! (18)
Pride leads also to vainglory, that is, the wish to be esteemed for oneself, without referring this honor to God, the source of all good, and often a wish to be esteemed for vain things. This is the case of the pedant who loves to display his knowledge, binding himself and wishing to bind others to trifles.(19)
Defects from vainglory.
Many defects spring from vainglory: (20) boasting, which easily makes a person ridiculous; hypocrisy, which under the appearances of virtue, hides vices; stubbornness, contention or asperity in defending one's opinion, which engenders discord; and also disobedience, sharp criticisms of superiors.
The way of perdition.
Thus we see that pride which is not repressed sometimes produces disastrous effects. How many discords, hatreds, and wars are born of pride! It has been justly said that pride is the great enemy of perfection because it is the source of numerous sins and deprives us of many graces and merits. Scripture says: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble." (21) And Christ says of the Pharisees, who pray and give alms in order to be seen by men: "They have received their reward"; (22) they cannot expect that of our heavenly Father, since they have acted for themselves and not for Him. Lastly, a life dominated by pride is grievously sterile and presages perdition unless a remedy is promptly applied. - Garrigou-Lagrange


  1. Anonymous8:48 AM

    A very thought-provoking post - sometimes I'm guilty on all counts! Thanks so much.

    Patricia Gonzalez

  2. The other day, (Wednesday) I had a shower and did my hair and make-up. I was looking (no, admiring) myself in the mirror thinking how well I was aging considering..... and feeling everything was all great about everything. Then suddenly I just threw myself on the bed and begged God to save me from my own daftness. Everything was not all ok, far from it, but a little bit of vanity had flooded my senses.
    I think that must have been ten seconds of presumption.
    Anyway, after I pulled myself up off the bed and looked in the mirror again, my mascara had run all down my red blotchy face, rendering my 'good looks' moribund!
    I wiped all the stuff off and said a rosary.
    It'll happen again, I'm sure. I'm such a big eejut you see.

  3. Shadowlands - You remind me of St. Catherine of Genoa sometimes.

    I'm a big eejut too. Thank God he takes care of babies and fools, huh?

  4. Thanks for taking the time to remind us of the need for humility. Makes me think if I should just chuck the whole blog at times...

  5. I think it's all balance and stride....if Idon't take a little pbit of prodein my appearance then I start looking like something the cat drug in...for those of us who struggle with depression feeling good about yourself helps battle that demon....

    And having pride in our work that our employer pays us wages to perform is very important. WE've all worked around folks who seem just to put forth the bare minimum. I'd sure hate to go see a doctor or surgeon that didn't have a bit of pride in his craft...


  6. St. Thomas Aquinas describes the sin of pride in the following terms:

    The first sin committed by the devil was that residing in an undue desire to be "like to God," in that he sought as the ultimate goal of his happiness something to which he could attain by his own natural powers, without having recourse to God, nor wishing to wait, as did the holy angels, for his final perfection through divine grace.

    This final perfection he sought to reach through the resources of his own nature, not, indeed, independently of God, Who gave to the angelic nature the ability to act, but independently of God Who confers grace (De Malo, 16,3).

    “…nor wishing to wait, as did the holy angels, for his final perfection through divine grace…”

    That part of St. Thomas’s statement deserves much consideration.

    The sin of Pride stands on its own.

    The cause of Pride is not lack of humility as cold is a lack of heat.

    "Nonserviam" was the first word spoken. Ever. It had no words to proceed it; thus with Pride.


  7. 3pudtats said

    'I think it's all balance and stride....if I don't take a little bit of pride in my appearance then I start looking like something the cat drug in..'

    Good point, maybe a bit of lippy wouldn't hurt me ;). (lipstick). Do they do a wasterproof mascara for Catholics who throw themselves around crying a lot? I can just imagine the advert on TV........

  8. shadowlands--

    Hehe--I work in a professional environment where "Look smart-look credible" is the word of the day.. and there is some truth to of our new engineers tended to have a rather slovenly appearance (BYU graduate by the way--he SHOULD have know how to dress)--one of the Air Force engineers upstairs thought he was one of our SUMMER HIRES....double ouch...

    But yes in the springtime I struggle with pollen allergies which make the tears stream down my face,along with the mascara and the eyeliner..on many occasion Ive had a well-meaning individual ask "Sara..are you ok??" Yes,yes, just spring in the air...

    But not today...more snow on the ground..

    On hindsight--I really should have gone into chemical engineering, then I would have invented the ultimate no-run-no smear mascara, eye liner,and lipstick. I'd have more money than I would ever be able to spend, and the love and admiration of millions of women world-wide.... :)



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