Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Deadly Sins - Pride (Part 1)

Perhaps the root of all sin is the sin of Pride. Pride is putting one's self in the place of God. It is making decisions as if you were God or acting as if God's plan and your plan are the same. When I am honest with myself, I will admit that all too often God's voice sounds like my own; God's plan is to make my happy now and God's will is just what I want.

Being the root of all sin; pride is, perhaps, the most deadly of sins. Like all sin, pride brings darkness to our lives and our souls so that we are no longer even aware of the extent of our sins. We may intellectually know of our sins, but we do not know them. We do not own them. We don't really feel that the "memory of them is grevious to us. The burden of them is intollerable."

Following St. Augustine's Prayer Book, Pride is putting yourself in the place of God as the center of our lives (or some part of our lives) or the object of our love. Pride refuses to recognize our status as creatures who are dependent on God for our lives and everything around us. Pride shows itself in several, often subtle, ways

Irreverence - Neglect of woship of God every Sunday in His Church or being content with a perfunctory participation in worship. Disregard of Holy Days or additional opportunities for giving God honor. Failure to thank God or to express our gratitude adequately. Disrespect for God or for holy things by deliberatly treating them (in thought, word, or deed) in profane, contemptous or an overly-familiar manner. Use of holy things for personal advantage or the attempt to bribe or placate God by religious practices or promises.

Sentimentality - Being satisfied with pious feelings and beautiful ceremonies withouth striving to obey God's will.

Presumption - Dependence on self rather than on God. Neglecting the means of Grace - sacraments, prayer, and study. Dispensation of ourselves from ordinary duties on the grounds that we are "above that." Satisfaction or complacency over our spiritual achievements (or even taking credit for our spiritual achievements). Refusal to avoid, when possible, immediate occasions of temptation. Preference for our own will, ideas, or plans. Foolish optimism. Failure to recognize our work as a divine vocation or to offer our work to God. Unwillingness to surrender to Jesus or to abide in him. Failur to offer to intercede for others - especially those who have asked our prayers.

Distrust - Refusal to accept God's wisdome, providence, and love. Worry, anxiety, misgivings, overly scrupulousness or perfectionism. Attempts to discern or control the future through any means. Supersticion is a form of distrust.
Over-sensitiveness. Expectation that otherswill dislike, reject, or mistreat us. Being too quick to take offense at others actions or words.
Timidity in accepting responsibility or cowardice in facing difficulty. Surrendering to feelings of gloom, depression, pessimism, discouragement, self-pity instead of fighting and praying for courage and hope.

When I look at this (partial list), I tremble at my own sin. I see myself far too often in this list. I plead with Paul "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" And, I rejoice with him in the answer: "Thanks be to God in Jesus Christ!"

The whole point of an examination of conscience is not to run ourselves down or to feel bad about ourselves, but to know our own sinfulness and then offer that to God and ask for forgivness and amendment of life.

Pride hide our sins from us. Pride leads to the dark and damp place in our souls in which sin grows like mold and mildew. Confession is the God's ultraviolate light shining on the mold and bringing it to nothingness. I urge you to make a private confession at least once during this Lent.

Phil Snyder

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