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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Perfection Series Again-Pride

By popular request, I am starting up the Perfection Series again. These are not all tagged but if you put "perfection" in the search bar, most will come up.

I want to focus on a chapter from Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange The Three Ages of the Interior Life. In Chapter 22, the great Dominican writes of "The Predominant Fault".The holy priest lists most of the obvious sins, but I want to highlight one, but in a different manner.

We know that Pride is most likely the worst of all sins and the primal sin. Garrigou-Lagrange writes extensively on pride, but also explains the defects that come from pride. These are presumption, ambition, and vainglory.

"Presumption is the desire and in ordinate hope of doing what is above one's power. The presumptuous man believes himself capable of studying and solving the most difficult questions; he settle the most abstruse problems with rash haste". 

One of the characteristics of the presumptuous man is not to have a spiritual director. Another sign is the skipping of the long steps of perfection in one's mind and thinking that one is a holy mystic or on a higher level, instead of "building his interior life on humility, renunciation, fidelity to the duty of the present moment even in little thing..."

The author equates these tendencies with egoism, a very common sin. "He is 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."

Garrigou-Lagrange paints a picture of humans in 2012. Presumption leads to ambition. The desire to dominate and want power over others follows. Ambition opens to door, he explains, to intrigue and plotting.

Another result of pride is vainglory. The priest notes that boasting, hypocrisy, disobedience, stubbornness, contention, and defensiveness reveal this aspect of pride.

He goes on to write that "pride is the great enemy of perfection because it is the source of numerous sins and deprives us of many graces and merits." 

Pride leads to hell.

But, the great Dominican does not leave us here, but gives us remedies.

First, one must meditate on the fact 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." 

If we do have grace, he continues, it is only because Christ redeemed us through His Passion and Cross.

To be continued.....