This is post one of Series One, wherein we will focus on the 7 deadly sins. Today appropriately we start with the primordial sin, the Sin of pride.
The Venerable Abp Fulton Sheen describes Pride as follows:
“Pride is an inordinate love of one’s own excellence, either of body or mind or the unlawful pleasure we derive from thinking we have no superiors. Pride being swollen egoism, it erects the human soul into a separate centre of origin apart from God, exaggerates its own importance, and becomes a world in and for itself.”
From this description we can see why Pride is the primordial sin, indeed why it was such a sin which caused The Enemy to fall from Grace and again caused mankind to fall in the Garden of Eden. Pride attempts to put us outside of God’s jurisdiction, convincing us that it does not matter that we go against the will of God, that we know best for ourselves anyway. It is the putting of the person above everything else; it can be expressed in various ways.
Atheism expresses a tremendous pride it states that man is capable by himself or all he does. That man can govern himself how he sees fit without recourse to any external authority. Atheism is a great expression of pride, an absolute rejection of God.
Pride can very often be seen in its action, Our Enemy’s declaration “I will not Serve”, Martin Luther’s “I can do no Other” and recently the declaration of the House of Commons that it has the power to redefine that which God has decreed. All three are examples of Man turning directly against the will of God. Though this, turning from God, is characteristic of all sin it is clearest in the sin of pride, indeed pride is a particularly noxious sin that can be commonly found within the other sins. Most sin is directly or indirectly an act of pride, it declares that “I know better”, it is an attempt to determine one’s own course without submission to the will of God.
Pride is a temptation that can emerge from pondering the vastness of the universe. If everything is too big we can just shrink it all down, put man on top, reason logic etc and voila it is not quite so scary anymore, it’s small and simple and manageable. The reverse can also be done with Pride you just make yourself so big that everything else is small. A degree, a seat in parliament, titles, money all of that can be used as merely a tool to make one think, “I have all of this so I matter more than X, Y and Z”. This makes Pride a poison to Charity as it leads to one thinking “As if I am worth so much more than everyone else why should I even attempt to express charity to this person? Surely I should be using my power, money etc to benefit myself?” So for example the prideful man may support an interest group of some description to further expand his own interests and that pride can be used as a hammer to crush down those not matching their power, money etc.
Thus Pride expands from a simple interior fault to a public cancer that bites and damages all aspects and limbs of society. This leads to irresponsible governance and decay in societal structure. This can lead into modern Capitalist and communist Structures which glorify man and lead to the reduction of the common people to numbers and figures that can be abused for “the greater good”.
Both Capitalism and Communism are prideful in that they reject the divine law and operate unto themselves, feeling fit to determine their own laws and morals, which often show little regard to Natural or Divine Law. This links back to the whole idea of the prideful becoming a world unto themselves. When one casts god out then it is Pride that comes and takes up its place.
Pride is such a vast subject I will probably return to this vice soon. I would appreciate any feedback, on the content and writing style. You can also expect the follow up post on the virtue of humility before long.
Yours in Christ