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Pride was the sin of the Angels, as described in Sacred Scripture, when some rebelled against God and fell from grace. Pride, too, with stubbornness, is the sin which the Lord sees in the hearts of those who persist in disbelief even until death, ignoring His invitations to believe and to repent, so that they can enter Eternal life with Him and not fall into Hell.
God looks upon abortion as being the worst of all sins so widespread today, because it includes the pride which makes people imagine that they have the right to destroy the life of an innocent person. The Creator looks upon someone who causes the death of an infant as being like a person who caused the death of His own Son, Jesus Christ, Who shares our humanity.
The journey to Heaven is, for most people, a slow and arduous climb. Christ wants each of us to believe in His love, to persevere in faith, hope, love and humility, and to avoid pride and vainglory. People who want to be Saints think more about God's goodness that about their own gifts, talents, plans and ambitions.
Christ asks us to avoid all pride and vainglory. He wants everyone to know how much He loves each one of us; but He does not want priests or teachers to encourage children to start the day by saying: "I am great, I am wonderful, I am proud of being me!" He asks us to aim for humility, rather than concentrating on self-esteem.
We should pray for people in spiritual danger; however, people who insist on walking at the top of a steep cliff can fall, because of their own pride in ignoring warnings, onto the rocks below. A miracle could stop their fall, just as a miracle could stop the headlong fall towards Hell of a person who is insisting on committing mortal sin, despite all warnings. But miracles are rarely granted in such circumstances, being more usually given to the lowly.
Just as people who deliberately choose to ignore all warnings, and walk around the rim of the crater of a volcano, are in danger of falling into the fire, through their own foolishness and pride, so, those people who deliberately defy God by acting against His moral law are in danger of falling into Hell, through their own fault, unless they repent before they die.
We cannot look away when people starve; nor should we look away when the souls of fellow creatures are in danger. People who deliberately defy God's law, and commit mortal sin, and who even show pride in what they do, or boast about it, are as if climbers dancing only inches away from the mouth of a live volcano. They will end in Hell, unless they repent; and so they are in desperate need of our fervent intercessions.
The ancient tower of Babel fell, because of the pride of its builder. But we have a tower which reaches to Heaven, so that our prayers can reach the Father, every time we pray. It is the Sinless Son of God, in Whose name we pray, who makes possible our climb up to the Father in prayer - as well as the holy Mother He kept sinless, who helps us by her intercessions.
Just as it is too late for a miner to search for his lamp, his sandwiches and his handkerchief when his carriage has moved into the darkness of the mine, so it is too late for us to repent and make amends, if we do not do this before we die. By our carelessness or pride, we can go into that apparent darkness with little hope of finding our way to Heaven.
A person in mortal sin who benefits from the prayers offered by those who live united to Christ is like a man who was running, in a fog, towards a huge Abyss. But by a marvel, the fog was blown away in time for him to see what a dangerous road he was on. If he is wise, he kneels and repents of his foolishness and pride.
When people have such an elevated self-regard, and, in pride, insist on fulfilling their own desires and ambitions even if this means overturning the good work of other people, they walk away from the sunlight of a healthy society into a cloudy area where people become confused about morality and ignore the laws of God.
When the first human beings said "No" to God, the all-good, beautiful and holy, it was as if that cry of disobedience reverberated round the whole universe, so shocking was their pride and hard-heartedness. The whole of nature was damaged by the consequences of that Original Sin, at what we call 'the Fall'; and suffering entered our world.
Christ saw with dismay that many Catholics, after the last Council, were not content to be lowly, in church. Even at a time when these were forbidden, some insisted on presenting girls as altar-servers, or receiving Communion in the hand. Others wanted to preach the homily, or to introduce unauthorised dramas or prayers, or even dance troupes during the Mass, and some refused to kneel at the Consecration, and in other ways showed not education but pride.
Satan cannot bear to see Christ's faithful people happy and hopeful. When he cannot cause faithful people to break God's laws he stirs up discontent, or bouts of jealousy or anger, resentment and injured pride, to destroy the peace which is Christ's gift to His friends.
No-one forces anyone to water-ski; yet a special vocation requires special dedication. Just as a water-skier can grow careless, or decide to show off, or lose courage at great speed, and find himself humiliated, and reluctant to begin again, so a priest, or any disciple of Christ, can make foolish mistakes, in a freely-chosen vocation, if he is too proud to seek advice, or begins to doubt his gifts, or is afraid to begin again.
Only by the grace of God can we persevere in grace. We should give thanks to God, and take no pride in our success, whenever we manage to endure a distressing or painful episode, or a time of persecution, without becoming resentful, envious, or full of self-pity or gloom. It is as though we have forded a dangerous river, with our soul held high above our head.
Christ rejected Satan's offer to give Him the glory of the kingdoms of the world, if Christ would worship him - and then Christ gave a demonstration of humility, to help us, since He knows that the most common temptation of weak human beings is to pride, and self-sufficiency. Other weak people are tempted to despondency, thinking themselves unlovable. These too need Christ's powerful help.
The Church hands on the message of Jesus Christ. People who ignore God, and hate the Church or her teachings are seen by Christ as living in a degree of spiritual darkness, even if they were not told good things about the Catholic Faith when they were young. And no-one can enter Heaven without having shown some degree of humility and penitence before God. That is why we, today, should proclaim the message of St. Peter: "Repent - that your sins may be blotted out". Unbelievers, and proud people, cannot enter.
Holiness, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet entitled 'SPEAK ABOUT HOLINESS'. It is based on a talk given by Elizabeth Wang. Preface. This little book contains the full version of the text I wrot...
The Purpose of the Priesthood, by Elizabeth Wang
‘The Purpose of the Priesthood contains encouragement and advice for Catholic priests. It reminds them about the central meaning of the Priesthood, and about the need to teach the Catholic Faith in it...
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