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Pride is the prime root of all sin April 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, mortification, Saints, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

We live in very proud times.  The culture that surrounds us is so utterly cocksure that we represent the very peak of human existence.  We are smarter, richer, more comfortable, richer, and way more clever than all humans that ever preceded us.  I guess, because we have electricity, the internal combustion engine, and indoor plumbing.  sin-of-pride

But irrespective of the culture that surrounds us, there may be no bigger temptation for the faithful soul than pride.  If you have, by the Grace of God, managed to overcome some of the more rampant sins we see among so many in our world today (incontinence, infidelity, gluttony, greed, etc), this is no reason to think you are wonderful, or better than others. And it’s easy to fall into that trap.  For a blogger, it’s really hard to condemn an error and evil acts, while not feeling some smugness, perhaps, towards those who have calendar89fallen into a particular error or sin that you may have never been tempted towards, or even overcome.

The whole fall of the human race was rooted in pride.  Satan tricked Adam and Eve into committing the first mortal sin by appealing to their pride. At root, all sins can be traced back to pride and selfishness. But ultimately, pride alone is the source of all sin, because selfishness stems from pride.

Priests warn about this all the time.  The key to developing charity for others is humility.  I’m not sure blogging is conducive to humility, but there it is.  Nonetheless, as a remedy to any temptation to pride, I thought I would try to provide a resource of Scripture quotes and quotes from Saints about how pride messes us up and leads us astray:

First up, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Lk 18:9-14):parable-of-the-pharisee-and-the-publican

And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, he spoke also this parable:

[10] Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

[11] The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. [12] I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.  [No explanation needed]

Acts 12:21-23:

[21] And upon a day appointed, Herod being arrayed in kingly apparel, sat in the judgment seat, and made an oration to them. [22] And the people made acclamation, saying: It is the voice of a god, and not of a Dore_-_Pharisee_and_the_publicanman. [23] And forthwith an angel of the Lord struck him, because he had not given the honour to God: and being eaten up by worms, he gave up the ghost  [Any sin we overcome, any devotion we succeed at, we must give the glory to God.  All we have done is cooperate with His Grace.]

Luke 17:10:  [10] I think not. So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do. [So even if my some tremendous Grace and awesome cooperation with it, we manage to do ALL that God requires of us – which only great Saints ever managed to achieve, perhaps – we still must realize we have only done our minimum duty!  So we should never think we are all that.]

James 4:6: [6] But he giveth greater grace. Wherefore he saith: God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble

Psalms 58:13: For the sin of their mouth, and the word of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride.

All Bible quotes taken from the Douay-Rheims online version.

Now onto some Saint quotes.   Saint John Cassian, reminding us how dangerous having high esteem for ourselves is to a devout interior life (and thus, destroying at a blow the entire public education establishment):

“Our seventh struggle is against the demon of self-esteem, a multiform and subtle passion which is not readily perceived even by the person whom it tempts. The provocations of the other passions are more apparent and it is therefore somewhat easier to do battle with them, for the soul recognizes its enemy and can repulse him at once by rebutting him and by prayer.

The vice of self-esteem, however, is difficult to fight against, because it has many forms and appears in all our activities – in our way of speaking, in what we say and in our silences, at work, in vigils and fasts, in prayer and reading, in stillness and long-suffering. Through all these it seeks to strike down the soldier of Christ.

When it cannot seduce a man with extravagant clothes, it tries to tempt him by means of shabby ones. When it cannot flatter him with honor, it inflates him by causing him to endure what seems to be dishonor. When it cannot persuade him to feel proud of his display of eloquence, it entices him through silence into thinking he has achieved stillness. When it cannot puff him up with the thought of his luxurious table, it lures him into fasting for the sake of praise.

In short, every task, every activity, gives this malicious demon a chance for battle.”  [So whenever we say “ain’t I great”…….it’s not a good thing.  But self-esteem is so ingrained into so many of us by the culture, this is a really, really hard one to overcome. It is very hard not to say “We homeschool, we assist at the TLM, we moved to be near the parish, we pray this and that and mortify…..look how good we are doing!”  Don’t say that, thank God for all these blessings and pray you do not fall into sin.]

St. Maximos the Confessor: “Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive for which they are done. For example, fasting and vigils, prayer and psalmody, acts of charity and hospitality are by nature good, but when performed for the sake of self-esteem they are not good.” 

St. Augustine: “If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” St-John-Cassian

St. Augustine: “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

St. John Climacus: “An angel fell from Heaven without any other passion except pride, and so we may ask whether it is possible to ascend to Heaven by humility alone, without any other of the virtues.”

St. John Climacus: “Humility is the only thing that no devil can imitate.”

john mainSt. Anthony the Great: “Learn to love humility, for it will cover all your sins.  All sins are repulsive before God, but the most repulsive of all is pride of the heart.  Do not consider yourself learned and wise; otherwise, all your efforts will be destroyed, and your boat will reach the harbor empty.  If you have great authority, do not threaten anyone with death.  Know that, according to nature, you too are susceptible to death, and that every soul sheds its body as its final garment.”

St. John Vianney: Envy, my children, follows pride; whoever is envious is proud. See, envy comes to us from Hell; the devils having sinned through pride, sinned also through envy, envying our glory, our happiness. Why do we envy the happiness and the goods of others? Because we are proud; we should like to be the sole possessors of talents, riches, of the esteem and love of all the world! We hate our equals, because they are our equals; our inferiors, from the fear that they may equal us; our superiors, because they are above us. [This is my favorite quote of the whole bunch.  What a great Saint]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

St. John Vianney: ‘We put pride into everything like salt. We like to see that our good works are known. If our virtues are seen, we are pleased; if our faults are perceived, we are sad. I remark that in a great many people; if one says anything to them, it disturbs them, it annoys them. The saints were not like that — they were vexed if their virtues were known, and pleased that their imperfections should be seen.’

King St. Louis IXIn prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God’s benefits and so offend him.

St. Richard of Chichester: Satisfaction consists in the cutting off of the causes of the sin. Thus, fasting is the isaac syrian1proper antidote to lust; prayer to pride, to envy, anger and sloth; alms to covetousness.

St. Isaac the Syrian: “Flee vainglory, and you will be glorified; fear pride, and you will be magnified.”

St. Isaac the Syrian“Pride does not perceive that it walks in darkness and, as being darkened, it does not know the insight of wisdom. For this reason in its own murky thoughts it elevates itself above all, whereas it is more vile and more feeble than any, and it is incapable of learning the ways of the Lord. And the Lord conceals His will from it, because it did not choose to walk in the path of the humble.”

St. Francis of Assisi: “What have you to be proud of? If you were so clever and learned that you knew everything and could speak every language, so that the things of heaven were an open book to you, still you Bernardo_Strozzi_-_St_Francis_of_Assisi_adoring_the_Crucifix_-_Google_Art_Projectcould not boast of that. Any one of the demons once knew more about the things of heaven, and now knows more about the things of earth, than any human being, even one who might have received from God a special revelation of the highest wisdom.”

St. Francis of Assisi: “Therefore, all brothers must beware of all pride and vainglory. And let us keep ourselves from the wisdom of this world and the prudence of the flesh (Rom. 8:6). For the spirit of the flesh desires and is most eager to have words, but [it cares] little to carry them out. And it does not seek a religion and holiness in the interior spirit, but it wishes and desires to have a religion and holiness outwardly apparent to people. And these are the ones of whom the Lord says: Truly I say to you: They have received their reward (Mt. 6:2) But the Spirit of the Lord wishes the flesh to be mortified and despised, worthless and rejected. And it strives for humility and patience, and the pure and simple and true peace of the spiritual person. And above all things it always longs for the divine fear and the divine wisdom and the divine love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Finally, here is a great post on St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s twelve steps up the mountain of pride. This is just top notch spiritual counsel.

I pray you find this edifying!

The_Ladder_of_Divine_Ascent_Monastery_of_St_Catherine_Sinai_12th_century (1)


1. skeinster - April 3, 2014

Luke 17:10 was ‘given’ to me as my “life verse” many years ago.

Evangelical friends are kind enough to not go “Seriously? The whole of Scripture and you got that?”

It is very disinfectant, I must say.

Great post!

2. Steve - April 3, 2014

We have a Pope whose humble conduct is berated daily by Traditionalists.

Via this fine blog’s links, I began sometime ago to visit Mundabor’s blog. Last week, Mundabor bashed Pope Francis’ decision to go to confession in view, so to speak, of the world.

Mundabor and various Traditionalists insisted that Pope Francis’ action in question was an act of false humility.

Angelqueen posters mock Pope Francis’ as they refer to His Holiness as His ‘umbleness.

As a Catholic who favors Holy Tradition, I am ashamed that within the Traditionalist Movement we find more than a few folks who attack daily a Pope who displays humility.

Popes, as is the case with everybody, display humility in various ways.

Why have Pope Francis’ displays of humility been met with such disdain within the Traditionalist Movement?

skeinster - April 3, 2014

See TE’s first paragraph above. Trads are not immune to the culture around us and we have a distressing tendency to conflate our personal likes/dislikes with Tradition.

When someone deviates from the Way We Know Things Ought to Be, the worst possible intention is often assumed.

Fr. Ripperger covers this in his sermons on Trad Problems- they’re very good and humbling.

We act as though the TLM is a panacea. It’s not- we still must co-operate with the graces we receive.

tantamergo - April 3, 2014

Yah, I think I kind of tried to address that. I can’t speak for others very well, but I do think there is a sense that the humility is contrived, or that a show of it is made, which is kind of counter to the point. Nonetheless, it doesn’t look good.

As for Mundabor being on the blog roll…..he says many good things, but has made a bit of a fetish of absolutely castigating Pope Francis. I honestly don’t read him very often at all – less than monthly, for sure – but I hadn’t thought about his being on my blogroll.

When someone has put out some really good content, I generally try to be lenient, but I’ll think and pray on this some more.

TG - April 3, 2014

Mundabor is Italian. He doesn’t see things like Anglo Saxons do. He had a good blog on this topic. Worst name Mundator had for Pope Francis is Pope Diana. (Those of us that were around in the 80’s get it. Princess Diana was the darling of the media in the 80’s).

tantamergo - April 3, 2014

We’ll see. I rarely take any drastic action in such situations, unless it just really gets over the top. Everyone has their own level of comfort.

3. Steve - April 4, 2014

This past April Fools Day, Mundabor posted that Pope Francis had attacked sodomy, abortion, adultery and fornication. Later, Mundabor said…April Fools!

The idea was that Pope Francis would never condemn such sins. That notion is promoted daily by more than a few Traditionalists.

Well, the fact is that Pope Francis has upheld Holy Mother Church’s teachings in regard to sodomy, abortion, adultery and fornication.

Please visit the following Web site:


There you will find that Pope Francis has time and again upheld and promoted Holy Mother Church’s teachings in regard to human sexuality.

By the way, Pope Francis has again and again promoted the Holy Sacrament of Penance and the realities of Satan and hell.

The notion promoted by Mundabor and Traditionalists of his ilk, that is, that Pope Francis has advanced the idea that we are free to sin and believe that we will escape divine punishment, is false.

Lynne - April 4, 2014

No one is forcing you to go to his blog… Seriously.

4. Steve - April 5, 2014

As a Catholic, I am “forced” to counter falsehood. Within Traditionalist Catholic circles, there are bloggers who assault Pope Francis daily.

Everything from Pope Francis’ humility to his orthodoxy is questioned by certain bloggers.

The claim that Pope Francis has not upheld Church teachings in regard to sodomy, abortion, adultery and fornication is false.

If anything, do certain bloggers not recall that Pope Francis last year joined a pro-life march in Rome?

His Holiness has upheld and promoted Holy Mother Church’s teachings in regard to sodomy, adultery and fornication.

The Pope’s Traditionalist critics who have claimed otherwise are wrong.

Folks who mock and question Pope Francis’ humility would do well to muster sufficient humility to acknowledge that they are wrong in regard to the above.

I am “forced” as a Catholic to combat error and stand for truth.

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