January 27, 2015

Pride~The Common Denominator in All Things Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


"There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride."
Pope Francis
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The headlines and newscasts are filled with the news of President Obama's outrage over House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before the United States Congress in March. Apparently a protocol was violated and the Speaker did not inform the White House. 

So why is the President of the United States so angry over this supposedly unprecedented invitation to a foreign leader by the Congress? Who cares, right? WRONG? He was offended. Protocol was the excuse for his anger. The primary cause was "ego". His ego was sand-blasted into disarray when he was ignored by a person who is NOT the "Big Cheese". In other words, President Obama's pride was deflated. Ah yes, that old 'demon' pride has once again reared its ignominious and ugly head. He sure knows how to spoil a salad. If protocol was stepped upon it still is no reason to get so angry. But stepping on the pride of someone, anyone, oftentimes yields this result.

Pope Francis' quote above uses the words, "threatens everyone in the church, all of us". He is referring to the Pride  that is part of all of us. There is "positive pride" which refers to taking pride in your  work, your appearance, how hard you study, how you treat others etc. Then there is "negative pride" which has been the downfall of so many. This is all about self-gratification and taking care of  your favorite and most revered son/daughter of  worldliness aka secularism, good old "#1", yourself. This never reaps a fruitful harvest.

This "negative pride" has permeated every nook and cranny of humankind since the days of Adam and Eve. Satan aka Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, used his main weapon to draw Eve into his realm. He used pride to tempt her. Consumed with her inner vanity she was easy pickings for Satan. "Eat the apple (yes, the apple is probably symbolic) and you will be like God."  

Eve wanted to be like God and her Pride pushed her teeth into that apple and she bit, She turned it over to her man, Adam. Misery loves company and she was probably not feeling very well after that first swallow. Adam bit  into the other half of the apple. VOILA--Original sin and its primary effect, Pride, have been at the forefront of all chaos ever since.  

The untold and undocumented cause of countless cases of pain and suffering caused by Pride over the centuries cover the pages of history. Wars, genocide, torture, scorched-earth policies continue to this very day.  Countless friendships have been permanently severed and how many families have been torn apart?  All because Satan is able to wield his greatest tool, Pride, unchecked and freely. All because so many people willingly grab onto it and refuse to let go.

This incident is fresh in my mind so I would like to share. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day and he had just finished talking to his younger brother on the phone. The brother told him that Catholics can eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My friend told him he was wrong. They got into an argument and my friend hung up on his brother. He told me he is not calling him back until he apologizes. I reminded him that he was the one who "hung up". He did not care because his brother started it.

These two had not spoken in almost ten years and finally got back together and now---oh man, are you kidding me? And they will both go to Mass and Communion in their respective cities and pound their breasts and bow their heads and be totally oblivious to the two greatest commandments of Loving God and Loving their Neighbor that they are breaking. 

Ah, the great sin of Pride. We have all seen the results up close and personal within our own worlds. Just like my friend and his brother we may be a prisoner of Pride's deadly grip on ourselves. Parents estranged from children, siblings estranged from each other, families torn apart. The common denominator is always Pride. But the good news is there is an antidote. It is called Humility. St. Augustine said, "It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."

 Here is the link to the Litany of Humility. Truly, this prayer is a powerful weapon. It also takes courage to say it. This is how it begins:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus

                                                          Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson