Friday, March 9, 2012

Lenten Season - Day 15

BEADS OF JOY 3-09-12 “Seven Deadly Sins - Pride”
©2012 James Dacey, Jr. OFS

Lenten Season – Day 15
My Friends,

Lent is a wonderful time to look at some of the challenges we all face. Today we begin a series of The Seven Deadly Sins. They won't be posted in order; they will just be entwined throughout Lent. Today we look at what I think is probably the most overlooked and understated sin of all: Pride. I also believe it is the root behind so many of the sins we all deal with. What is pride? It's rebellion, its arrogance, it's you thinking of you and you alone are all that matters and nothing else means anything without you. The center of all sin is "I" meaning you, meaning ourselves. With that being true, we tend to center our self by means of pride. There are many kinds of pride we can have: Boastful pride, arrogant pride, Ignorant pride, Blind pride, etc. Some of these terms are my own. I like observing those around me. And I have seen so many different ways people act and speak and treat other people. We all fall short and sin this sin in some manner, myself included. It’s a full time job keeping ourselves in check with this sin.

I think it would be fair to say that to some degree or another we have all committed this sin. It's all about us doing what's best for ourselves, yes it could be major, or it could be subtle, either way it's pride. You know you could decide you want to go buy some major item that will make you feel good. It may be a computer, a car or jewelry, whatever. No matter what the item is; pride is all about our own self-esteem. It's also all about our own personal reputation, and what I have to do to maintain it and keep it looking as good as I do, whether it’s all truth or all lies. Pride usually includes lies, in order to keep the pride out in the front, sometimes it has to be puffed up by lies to look even better than it truly is. Our pride also goes against God, whether we like to admit that or not. There is so much scripture when it comes to pride. Here are two to reflect upon:

"Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous." Psalm 31:18

"A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor." Proverbs 29:23

How do we defeat or at least lessen the amount of pride that is incorporated into so much of what we do, and act, and be like each day? Well for starters we can begin by working on the completely opposite side of that sin, and the best way to defeat pride, is with humility. Being humble in all things is probably the greatest first step forward we can take. Humility is all about putting ourselves last and others first. True humility allows others including God, to use us in such a way that we are able to serve others. Remember my analogy of JOY, Jesus 1st, Others 2nd, You last. That is the cornerstone of humility. "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:11, we can be humble before God and others and still live a wonderful life. Humility does not show weakness, in fact I believe you need to be an extra strong person to be humble rather than be a prideful arrogant one that wants to look tough in front of everybody.

Words of encouragement are throughout scripture, "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6. Jesus guides us in ways that are pleasing to God. I believe keeping this sin is check will probably be the toughest challenge for all of us. We ultimately spend a great deal of time alone with ourselves, at work, at home, yes surrounded by others, but still alone. We tend to and fend for ourselves a lot, more than I think we realize. Well there are ways to keep our pride in check that will not make us so guilty of being so prideful of ourselves. That was a mouthful indeed.

Today's Challenge: Deprogram the Pride Gene. Next time you're out and you are going to pick up yourself something (magazine, a snack, hobby stuff, whatever). I dare you to NOT buy it, but instead pick up something else for someone you love. Buy whatever it was you wanted another time. But when you think of you, buy for them. You will bring much joy to those you love.

Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS