Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost—30 August AD 2015


Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

Pride: The Devil's Favorite Sin

“Behold the birds of the air…. Consider the lilies of the field.”[1]

    Our Lord could not have picked better examples.  There are no better examples of humble acceptance of divine providence.  The birds and the flowers are utterly without pride filled self-importance, and utterly dependent on God for their existence.  The flowers can’t even peck the worms out of the ground as the birds do.  It is this lack of pride, and a lively trust in God’s benevolence that our Lord is recommending to us today.  Our Father in heaven knows that we need food and drink,  clothing and shelter—He will enable us to earn these things if we but let Him.

    I say that He will allow us to earn these things.  God had provided us with far greater intelligence than the flowers and the birds, as well as creating us with greater physical strength and dexterity.  He expects us to make use of the abilities He has given us—in fact, the faithful performance of our daily duty renders honor to God.  It demonstrates the conformity of our will to His will—our willingness to faithfully follow His plans for our life.

    Trust in divine providence is important for following the divine plan.  If we were to rely too heavily on our own abilities, we would be likely to draw away from God.  The person overly concerned with earning the physical necessities of life will have little or no time for prayer, may be reluctant to spend his time attending Mass even on days of obligation, and may be distracted by earthly concerns even when he finds time to pray.  As our Lord told us, we “cannot serve two masters.”

    It might do well to consider the example of Saint Paul.  Although fully committed to preaching the word of God, Paul relied on his own efforts to earn his food and shelter.  He worked as a tent maker during much of his apostolate.[2]  When he wrote to the Thessalonians, he urged them to imitate his example, going so far as to say: “if any man will not work, neither let him eat.”[3]

    Paul’s words, which we read today, urge us to conduct ourselves in a spiritual manner, while avoiding the vices of the world.[4]

    We are to practice “charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity [kindness], goodness, longanimity [patience under provocation], mild­ness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.”  While being sure to avoid “fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunken­ness, revellings, and such like.”

    I mentioned that one of the characteristics of the flowers and the birds was a lack of pride.  In human beings, pride can be found at the root of nearly all sinful behavior.  The prideful person will lie to himself and believe his own lies:  “I am so important that I have a right to someone else’s property—if I feel like it, I may just get liquored up and take it from him by force if need be.  I have no obligation to tell him the truth, but I also plan to take his wife away from him—and maybe his life as well.  After all, I am more important than everyone else.”

    Notice, too, that almost all the good things urged by Saint Paul involve being good to other people.  It is much easier to be good to others if we are humble—if we acknowledge their rights to be equal to our own, not looking down on them but seeing them as equals to be respected.

    We have (or should have) but one Master.  “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”  To serve God, we must have a humble acceptance of His divine providence.  We are human beings and cannot be quite like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.  But God has given us a good intellect to distinguish between good and bad.  He has given us the true Faith and the actual graces which proceed from the Mass and Sacraments.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice; and all things necessary shall be added unto you.”


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