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Monday, 30 July 2012

Again on Pride and Its Remedy

Catherine of Siena is quoted by Garrigou-Lagrange. She states, " O cursed pride, based on self-love, how hast thou blinded the eye of their intellect, that while they seem to love themselves and be tender to themselves, they are in truth cruel. . . . They are really in the greatest poverty and misery, for they are deprived of the riches of virtue and have fallen from the heights of grace into the depths of mortal sin. They seem to see, but are blind for they know neither themselves nor Me." 

We must be hard on ourselves. So what are the virtues which remedy pride?

The Dominican tells us this:...a profound purification is needed. That which we impose on ourselves is not sufficient; there must be a passive purification by the light of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which causes the bandage of pride to fall away, opens our eyes, shows us the depth of frailty and wretchedness that exists in us, the utility of adversity and. humiliation, and finally makes us say to the Lord: "It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me, that I may learn Thy justifications." (29) "It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradictions, and to allow people to think ill of us. . . . These are often helps to humility, and rid us of vainglory." (30) It is in adversity that we can learn what we really are and what great need we have of God's help: "What doth he know, that hath not been tried?" (31)
After this purification, pride and its effects will gradually be felt less. A person, instead of letting himself fall into jealousy toward those who have more natural or supernatural qualities, tells himself then that, as St. Paul remarks, the hand ought not be jealous of the eye, but, on the contrary, it should be happy because it benefits from what the eye sees. The same is true in the mystical body of Christ; far from becoming jealous, souls ought to enjoy in a holy manner the qualities they find in their neighbor. Though they do not possess them themselves, they benefit by them. They should rejoice over everything that cooperates in the glory of God and the good of souls. When this is the case, the bandage of pride falls away and the soul's gaze recovers its simplicity and penetration, which make it enter little by little into the inner life of God.

How hard this is to be contradicted. How hard it is not to really care what others think of us, and we must ask God to purify us. The remedy is thinking on God and realizing that all we have is from Him-all.

The remedy is the opposite of what the modern world tells us.

The remedy for pride is to tell ourselves that of ourselves we are not, that we have been created out of nothing by the gratuitous love of God, who continues freely to preserve us in existence; otherwise we would return to nothingness. And if grace is in us, it is because Jesus Christ redeemed us by His blood.

The remedy for pride is also to tell ourselves that there is in us something inferior to nothingness itself: the disorder of sin and its effects. As sinners, we deserve scorn and all humiliations; the saints have thought so, and they certainly judged better than we.
If we feel the sting of honest criticism, we are too proud. If we dislike people speaking against us, even unfairly, we are too proud. Better that I am thought less and not considered, than to be living in pride.

St. Catherine, pray for us.