Pride: Part 2

Spiritual Pride

&

The Obstacles to Overcoming Pride

 

The Lack

of

Humility:

 

The Spirit

 

 

of

 

Pride

 

as taught by

 

God the Father in His Words

Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Lessons

Our Lady of Emmitsburg in her Messages

The Saints of the Church

and in

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Compiled by Michael T. Sullivan, MD)

 

 

Introduction

“..It is pride that changed angels into devils;

it is humility that makes men as angels.”

(St. Augustine)

 

God has a Plan.  His Plan is a pure and holy Plan—a plan devoid of sin.  However, in His generosity He gave both angels and man free will—a gift which allowed for selfishness to enter into the world and alter His Plan.  Sin was able to establish its reign, and its roots penetrated the very core of the angelic spirits as well as of humanity.  Pride is the very root of all sin.

 

PRIDE is defined “as an inordinate esteem of oneself. It is inordinate because it is contrary to the truth. It is essentially an act or disposition of the will desiring to be considered better than a person really is. Pride may be expressed in different ways: by taking personal credit for gifts or possessions, as if they had not been received from God; by glorying in achievements, as if they were not primarily the result of divine goodness and grace; by minimizing one's defects or claiming qualities that are not actually possessed; by holding oneself superior to others or disdaining them because they lack what the proud person has; by magnifying the defects of others or dwelling on them. When pride is carried to the extent that a person is unwilling to acknowledge dependence on God and refuses to submit his or her will to God or lawful authority, it is a grave sin. The gravity arises from the fact that a person shows contempt for God or of those who take his place. Otherwise, pride is said to be imperfect and venially wrong….

“While not all sins are pride, it can lead to all sorts of sins, notably presumption, ambition, vainglory, boasting, hypocrisy, strife, and disobedience. Pride strives for perverse excellence. It despises others and, depending on its perversity, even looks down upon God….” (Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary)

 

Pride looks down on God because it envies His glory, His power and His authority.  St. John Vianney, the 19th century French priest and mystic, speaks about that relationship between pride and envy:

 

Envy 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; and our superiors, even God, because they are above us….”  (St. John Vianney, French priest and mystic, 1786-1859)

 

“…Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure

should take care not to fall….”

(1Cor 10:12)

 

It would most likely be best to remember than any progress made in the spiritual life is a gift from God and His the glory.  As soon as we begin to take some (or all) the credit, the sooner He will most likely allow us to fall on our faces.  There is that temptation to elevate ourselves even in our prayer life, thus projecting a sense of assurance for ourselves, and something less than that for others on their spiritual journey.  This improper attitude will most often end in our humiliation, while a more proper attitude of thanksgiving to God for our gift of faith will most likely result in an even more abundant showering of God’s grace upon us.  In our “littleness” God’s greatness can shine forth; however in our spiritual pride, we often crowd God out and find ourselves deprived of the riches of virtue and ensnared in the traps of sin.  Our Lord in His Lessons to the world through Gianna Talone Sullivan wants us to be watchful and not wasteful, and not to be confounded in self-pride and the masks of falsehood, but rather love to be humble:

 

 

Spiritual Pride
But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites;

because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men,

for you yourselves do not enter in;

and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter….” 

(Mt 23:13)

 

OUR LORD:

“…Those who feel uncomfortable reading My words or are quick to pass judgment on the authenticity of My words should perhaps reflect on them more deeply, for they are the ones held captive and slave to pride.  It reflects their ways and their actions.  It is likened to the high priest who comes before Me thanking Me that he is righteous and not like the rest of the sinners and the beggar who beats is breast pleading for God’s mercy because He is a sinner….

“…Beware of your spiritual pride.  Turn now away from your sinful mannerisms, and love.  Love yourself, love others, and love to be humble….”  (JOM, Vol V, #27, Oct. 39, 1995, Your Own Lack of Love)

 

“…I wish for all My people to be at peace, even in the anguish they experience from others.  Remember, I am your Jesus of Mercy Who will protect you and give you Peace….Speak less!  Listen more!  Your actions will speak for your works, and I, Your Jesus, will protect you and call all hearts in time…As My people grow on their journey, they need to be watchful that their spirituality does not deceive them in vanity, or they only become thieves to themselves….I do not want to see them use wasteful energy in anguish over controversies man can create….”  (JOM, Vol IV, #13, Jan. 24, 1992, Controversy)

 

“…Evil’s reign of power is close to an end….Every sorrow, every whimper of pain pierces my Sacred Heart only to be turned into the soul’s glory in resurrection.  It grieves Me that many of My people have chosen to walk the way of evil….They want, but they refuse to give.  They must be right at all times and fail to accept error in humility.  Pride continues to control every element of their being….Since they are never satisfied, they are never at peace….Many of my people refuse my assistance and My Love.  Their ways are confounded in self-pride and their pain deepens….Evil could not prevail unless allowed by the soul….Few seek to uphold the truths of mercy and love for freedom in the world….This lack of genuine love and service will only be manifested in the current devastations existing in the world….Through love evil cannot exist….Love has no boundaries, and the first areas evil attacks are the areas of pride, self-gain, materialism and power:  the masks of falsehood and obstacles to freedom.  But many of My beloved ones are gaining the knowledge of truth from asking My assistance and giving their souls unconditionally to My care, Love and Mercy.  There is hope for the future of mankind, a hope founded in Love; for evil’s reign is close to an end….”  (JOM Vol V, #28, Nov. 2, 1995, The Cry of My People)

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Emmitsburg acknowledges that there are many who do desire to know her Son, but many of those who do not have the determination and conviction to accept the gift of Faith from God with all it entails.  Rather, they fall away, often deceived by the obstacles of their very own spiritual pride and vanity, which when they fester, progress into envy and hatred.

 

This is what happened in the spiritual lives of many of the Pharisees in Our Lord’s time, and this very well may have been what has happened to many in positions of power, prestige and wealth in both our world and even in the Church.  Unfortunately, it still remains a time when too many of God’s children do not desire to know the truth through anyone but themselves, leaving hope—the true hope about which Our Lord refers to in His Lessonsdistorted and hidden:

 

“…In a world today, masked by tremendous confusion and controversy, there are many who desire to know my Son.  However, through their own free wills they do not have the perseverance, determination, and conviction to follow through with their gift of Faith, a gift that comes freely from God.  When there are many of my beloved children who give their hearts to my Son and who implore through my intercession, many graces and the healing and mending of their own brokenness, then my Son gives most graciously because their hearts are open to receive.  It sounds very simple, but how difficult the task; not only due to original sin, but through humanity’s vices, tribulations and temptations, spiritual pride and vanity, jealousy and greed….”  (Private OLOE, May 2, 2004)

 

“…However, there are also many people who are resentful and who are filled with pride and envy.  The battle exists because they want to be proven right and because they themselves are insecure in their own relationships with God…. It is the same as it has been in the past.  Whether righteous or not righteous, both spiritually and politically, over the ages there have always been those who, because of the vice of hatred, have allowed to filter into their souls that poisonous venom of envy; and they try to destroy any good fruit….”  (Private OLOE, May 5, 2003)

 

“…This is the time when I have been blessed by Heaven to be with humanity in this special way.  Those who desire to throw darts at my most Immaculate Heart shall not wound me because I am the shield of my Son.  Because I am Love as my Son is Love, only that which is Love Itself can get to Him.  For many years I have been encouraging you, advising and guiding you, and telling you that there is a time to come when many will be confused and distraught, many in despair, and many who shall blaspheme my Son and leave Him.  Yes, there is much to unfold yet in the world.  This is not the end!  But certainly, my children do not desire to know my words through someone other than themselves, a great sin of spiritual pride and of self-righteousness, and a lack of humility and lack of trust…”  (Private OLOE, July 7, 2003)

 

“…Conditions and restrictions molded into your lifestyle, along with the need to control, inhibit you from maturing in God’s Love and surrendering with total trust and childlike confidence to His Will….Realize how you judge someone when that person does not meet your standards, and how your pride will not accept or permit a person to change.  When you perform an act as such, you are proclaiming by your actions and thoughts to be superior to God.  By not allowing people to forget, you do not allow mercy to unfold and love to mature in its entirety….”  (Public OLOE, Feb. 5, 1998)

 

“…Little ones, your salvation involves cooperation on your part.  It is so necessary for you to be humble and kind.  My Son gave His Life and He is your salvation.  However, He also invites you to live in Him and to be Him….You cannot be filled with pride, all-knowing and righteous; for that was the way of the Pharisees.  They believed they knew the truth, but they did not believe in the Truth…..Do not wait until it is too late to change….The time is now to give of yourself, to heal relationships, to be more loving, to seek what is the Truth in my Son, and to be a light of joy, mercy and love….”  (Public OLOE, Feb. 3, 2008)

 

“…Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps,

you be accounted worse before God Who knows what is in man.

Do not take pride in your good deeds.

For God’s judgments differ from those of men,

and what pleases them often displeases Him….”

(Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis, 15th century spiritual guide)

 

 

Obstacles to Overcoming Pride

And it will be said,

“Build up, build up, prepare the way.

Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”

(Is 57:14)

 

If pride is truly the root of all evil, and humility the only antidote, then there must be many obstacles preventing God’s children from overcoming that pride.  Our Lord in His Lessons to the world speaks of several of those:  the lack of obedience, the lack of trust, the lack of faith and hope and the lack of forgiveness and reconciliation:

 

The Lack of Obedience

“…For if the word announced through angels proved firm,

and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense,

 how shall we escape…” 

(Heb 2:2)

 

“…If My people obeyed Me by trusting in Me, they would be released from their fear which enslaves them.  Divine obedience is the greatest gift My people could give My Father, far greater than sacrifice!  Obedience is devotion and love and mercy, which My Father graciously accepts and reciprocates in rewarding one-hundred fold!  Obedience is being open to My words, accepting them and allowing My Love to mold you into eternal perfection.  Obedience is growth—growth that is even accompanied by imperfections and failings!  These shortcomings perfect you when you allow Me to strengthen you and teach you.  Acceptance in Divine obedience to Me allows you to grow and live in the holiness of My Spirit.

 

  “A major factor in the growth of obedience is patience. In the excitement of growth, it is necessary to grow at My pace!  If you allow pride to enter and control you, it will deceive you; and it will destroy the seed of obedience….”  (JOM, Vol II, #41, Jan 28, 1990, Obedience)

 “…Those, who humble themselves under My yoke in obedience to their superior, are obedient to Me. Those who humble themselves initially under My yoke, and then lift their heads to go out on their own in disobedience to their superior, are exemplifying a hidden pride that has been seeded deep within them.

“It is better to be obedient to your superior in the good works of God than it is to be directly obedient to Me! Pride can deceive, My dear ones, and many wish to go out on their own thinking it is obedience to Me; but it is only their pride they are serving, not Me! When they wish to serve their neighbor, they are only serving themselves by pride. …

“...Evil can deceive through your hidden pride to expose yourself. It is like anyone who has the initial desire to do good works and serve Me through obedience, but then he or she decides to go off on his or her own and plays God! …..

“…Pay attention to discernment through obedience. Take heed in silence. It is as much a virtue to be silent as it is to have the gift of speech, far better to live in silence than to live in deception and pride….

“All glory and praise must first be given to God silently, prudently, and obediently through discernment, love, kindness, meekness and humility. All pride must leave the body totally, fully and carefully, al­lowing the Body of Christ in its full Presence to absorb and possess the soul through purity. This comes through obedience….”  (JOM, Vol IV, #12, Dec. 29. 1991, Obedience)

 

 

The Lack of Trust
“…We have sinned before the Lord our God,

and have not believed Him, nor put our trust in Him….” 

(Bar 1:17)

 

“…Put your trust in Me, your Lord God.  Allow Me to care for you….Trust in Me allows Me to care for you as My disciples in the way which allows Me to be glorified in you….The Will of My Father must always prevail for anyone to be My disciple….

 

“…Never be self-righteous, but allow Me to be righteous in you.  Deny yourself the disillusion of humanity’s materialism, and see your wealth in Me.  You are nothing alone, but everything in Me!  Do not seek personal desires, but seek the desire of Him Who has sent Me….Deny your very self for My sake, and you shall receive My righteousness….Deny the evil one’s venom of prestige, power and pride which manipulate and become the center of your life. Instead, place Me at the center with simpleness, goodness and love…”  (JOM, Vol III, #4, May 21, 1990, Steps to Discipleship)

 

“…How do you know you are fulfilling the Will of God?  If you trust in what you are doing and that My Word will be fulfilled by trusting in Me, not the message, then you are fulfilling My Will.  If you doubt what you are doing because of insecurities, and are not sure, then it is not of God.  Either you know or you do not!  You either love or do not.  You either say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’!....Know that if something does not go according to your plan, it does not mean it wasn’t the Will of God.  The Will of God is always done in those who trust.  Self-pride makes you doubt the Plan of God and His Will….” (JOM, Vol IV, #4, Oct. 13, 1991, Trust in Me)

 

The Lack of Faith & Hope
Moses answered and said:

“They will not believe me, nor hear my voice,

but they will say:

‘The Lord did not appear to you. ’ 

(Ex 4:1)

 

“…At times, even My most beloved fall prey to pride, self-centeredness and the desire to control and be ruler.  When you are graced to witness this, and fall prey to suffering because of human ways, do not despair.  Have hope, and call on Me, your Shepherd.  Take firmly the hands of this suffering and sorrow, but do not choose to grasp the hands of pride or hatred to deceive you away….Do not despair or become discouraged….Even when you think you ae most alone, I shall never leave you….With confidence in My love of yourself, continue not to be pulled into the funnel of the manipulations of control, but be free….These are simply the seeds of evil and deceit, lurking to try at every chance to prevent the continuation of your journey to Truth and a life of beauty….At any time on your journey, you are always free to leave and descend the mountain….Your desire to walk My path to freedom is your choice.  The climb is not so easy, and many must enter through the desert in order to continue further; but I promise you that you will have Me to help you….But you must trust in Me…”  (JOM, Vol IV, #53, August 8, 1992, Confidence)

 

“…Never give up hope.  My disciples will fall because I allow them, but only for them to grow stronger in My holiness and in humility….A true disciple puts aside his/her self-pride and accepts errors with humility….If you seek the Kingdom of God, you will live in My Truth and live My words. Allow your actions to speak for you!  Pray and live in My goodness always, and the inheritance of My Kingdom shall be yours….” (JOM, Vol III, #4, May 21, 1990, Steps to Discipleship)

 

“…Use the talents and gifts given to you.  Invest in a success that is of God, instead of investing in a worship of success through various means enmeshed in performance….Lose your life for My sake, and you shall find it….Be last, and you shall be first….Your culture today does not permit for this kind of behavior..  Thus I tell you, what is impossible with humans is possible thorough Me…..Do not see Me as an Instrument of your happiness, but see Me as the intrinsic Way of Life that you seek for your own sake….Believe in Me, and failure will not exist because you will believe in yourself.  Treat yourself as if you are Me because I am in you….Love yourself purely, but do not deceive yourself and take pride or boast in yourself.  Boast in God; and if you live In Me, you will live humble ways and will boast in the pure of heart and tend to My lowly…."   (JOM, Vol IV, #34, July 20, 1992, Success)

 

 

The Lack of Forgiveness
“…But if you will not forgive men,

neither will your Father forgive you your offences….”

(Mt 6:15)

 

“…To forgive, My people must have the desire and the willingness. Those who do not forgive their brothers cannot forgive themselves.

 

 “If you, My people, cannot forgive yourselves, how can I forgive you?

 

“Tell Me, child, if My people will not forgive their fellow brothers and themselves, is that not passing judgment?  When you do not forgive yourself, you are judging yourself! When you do not forgive your brothers, you are judging them according to your standards. I tell you, you cannot love Me and hate your brothers! You cannot judge others without first judging Me!... 

 

“…My people, do not take lightly My words on forgiveness….I tell you, it is better for you to forgive and reconcile with your brothers than to burn in the flames of Gehenna!  Step down from your thrones, My people. Do you actually think you can have everlasting life without forgiveness?  Allow Me to destroy your pride so that you can live in freedom and happiness by forgiving. Stop thinking you are far better than your fellow brothers or that it is belittling to forgive! 

 

“…If you cannot forgive without expectations, you cannot have a pure heart!…

 

“It is your choice! It is you who must have the desire and willingness to forgive and do so! I cannot forgive you unless you allow Me. You must forgive yourselves and your brothers before I am able to forgive you!...”   (JOM, Vol I, #65, June 26, 1989, Forgiveness)

 

 

The Lack of Reconciliation
“…But if thou turn away thy face, they shall be troubled.

Thou shalt take away their breath, and they shall fail

and shall return to their dust….”

  (Ps 103:29)

 

“…When My people come to Me to receive Reconciliation, I ask that they see Me in their hearts. I wish for them to pray to My Spirit to guide them in what needs to be asked in forgiveness; and then, in repentance, see Me in their hearts. A true confession will result from My Spirit's guidance, and from their sincerity and humbleness.

 

“…So many of My dear people are frightened or feel awkward to seek Reconciliation from Me. I do not wish for any to be frightened. I wish for them to be filled with My happiness and peace. You see, My child, reconciliation conflicts with pride! When My people come to Me in the Sacrament, they feel frightened or awkward because their pride and ego conflict with the truth. They wish to control what they say in Reconciliation, the time of speaking to Me personally. My priests are My instruments; and I assure you that in this Sacrament, it is I you see, not My priest! It is I you are announcing your sins to, asking Me for forgiveness…..”  (JOM, Vol I, #73, July 29, 1989, Reconciliation

 

“If it is necessary for you to commence the reconciliation process with your fellow brothers, then do so! Take the first step! Seek courage and strength from Me, but do not delay. Each moment you delay, you deny yourself My grace of freedom and peace. I tell you, if you wish to be glorified in Me, you must reconcile…”   (JOM, Vol I, #65, June 26, 1989, Forgiveness)

 


“…God refuses only the person who does not admit his own weakness;

He sends away only the unhappy proud person.

You must hold him well and strongly, with a poor spirit,

with a poor heart, with a life entirely poor….”

(St. Raphael Kalinowski, 1835-1906, Carmilite priest)

 

Throughout the world, our modern day messengers and prophets sent by God are helping us better understand what has been revealed to us in Sacred Scriptures for the last two centuries.  There is little doubt that the period of tribulation has begun!  Our Lady of Emmitsburg continually reiterates that it will not be possible for anyone to deal with these difficult times in a fruitful way without prayer.  The courage needed to discern and to walk in God’s Will can only be found through prayer.  And the response which can take each of us home to our Heavenly Father and lead as many of our brothers and sisters as possible in this world with us will require a disciplined commitment to prayer.  This is so necessary to nourish the faith, trust and love which will carry us to our eternal victory with our merciful and loving Father.

 

“Virtues are formed by prayer.

Prayer preserves temperance.

Prayer suppresses anger.

Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.

Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit and raises man to Heaven….”

(St. Ephraem of Syria, +373)

 

The lack of prayer does none of these things!

 

 

The Lack of Prayer

“…Two men went up into the temple to pray:

the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself:

‘O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men,…

as also is this publican….

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.’

I say to you, this man  (the publican)

went down into his house justified rather than the other:

because every one that exalts himself, shall be humbled;

and he that humbles himself shall be exalted….” 

(Lk 18:10-14)

 

“…In this tribulation and time of chaos and confusion, a world where there is much pride and power, and many people who are selfish and looking only at the ways of self, there is so much to unfold because of the lack of prayer and the lack of unity and harmony.  Because mankind has decided to make his own abode greater than that of God, he shall be crushed in himself where he shall dwell within the bounds of the earth; and My Son then shall unveil His Mercy and shall lift up all of those who are united to my Immaculate Heart.  Those who are consecrated to me and to God the Father through my Immaculate Heart shall rise in glory and be united as One Body….

 

‘I am sorry to say that I cannot mince words with the Truth because I must dwell within the Truth.  The fact of the matter is that humanity has drifted.  As much as I have invited them to come back to my Son, they have initially come back; and then because of their own ways and indifferences and many other incidences in their lives, they have become distracted and now seek other means to enlighten themselves  and to satisfy their own likings.   Because of this there is need for atonement….”  (Private OLOE, Feb. 24, 2003)

 

“…Yet, there I was, praying for you and inviting you to know that the time would come when it would be most necessary for prayer.  However, because of the evil and wickedness in the world, not because of humanity per se, but because of the evil, because of free will, because of the lack of prayer, because of the lack of unity and harmony, and because of power and pride, so many people have chosen to go their own ways….”  (Public OLOE, Feb, 16, 2003)

 

 

The Lack of Courage—FEAR
“…And they seeing Him walk upon the sea, were troubled, saying,

‘It is an apparition.’

And they cried out for fear….”  

(Mt 14:26)

 

“…I told you that it was so necessary for you to focus on my Son, for a time of tribulation is coming; and that if you did not look to my Son now, it would be most difficult later because of the chaos and confusion to follow.  Because you did not focus on these words and because of your fear, you spread to so many people the fallacy that my words were not true….” (Public OLOE, Feb. 16,2003)

 

“…This world is in tremendous danger.  It is because of the fear and the pride.  There is much to unfold.  Some may live and some may not.  Only those who focus on my Son shall have eternal life….It is a time of weeding out and a time of tribulation….(Private OLOE, Feb. 16, 2003)

 

 

“…In today's world there is tremendous fear.  You must be the Light of Jesus; and to validate anything, you, in belonging to Mother Church, must live and breathe the Truth.  Your actions, your love, your speech and your prayers all witness to the Truth.  Never fear, but know that an explosion of Light is coming---one where all the world will not only know the Truth, but must live it!”   (Public OLOE, Dec. 2, 2007)

 

“…Never have fear of life or sorrow or pain, but have a holy fear of God that you would not give all of yourself to Him in response to His desire.  The Spirit and the virtues are all upon you.  Cultivate them; and use them most wisely with prudence, with joy, with vision and with childlike filial dependence….”  (Public OLOE, May 11, 2008)

 

 

 

The Lack of Response

“…Words are not enough to correct a servant;
    even if he understands, he will not respond…..”

(Prov 29:19)

 

“…Trust in Jesus with all your heart, and respond to Him if He calls you to do His works of Mercy….It is necessary for all to respond to His call if evil is to be combated.  You cannot be afraid.  A lack of response is a lack of trust.  It is necessary to be disciplined and obedient to His call.  You must make an effort if Jesus is to draw you closer to Him….”   (Public OLOE, July 4, 1996)

 

“…Due to the lack of response from many people to love, pray and live in faith, these days are filled with confusion, anger, crime, pride, chaos and little love.  You need time to change, and there are few who are utilizing this time of Mercy by responding to God’s call.  There are many subtle evil forces in your midst which can only be recognized and fought victoriously through constant prayer, love and faith in God….”  (Public OLOE, Aug. 24, 1995

 

“…God calls you to make definitive choices,

and He has a plan for each of you:

to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation

is to move toward personal fulfilment….

(Pope Francis I, World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013)

 

How can we handle the obstacles?

St. Paul to the Romans:

 

“…Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,

but rather not put an obstacle or a stumbling block

in a brother’s way….”

(Rom 14:13)

 

“…I urge you, brothers,

to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles,

in opposition to the teaching that you have learned;

avoid them. 

For such people do not serve Our Lord Christ,

but their own appetites;

and by fair and flattering speech,

they deceive the hearts of the innocent….” 

(Rom 16: 17-18)

 

 

The End

“The Spirit of Pride”

Part 2