February 21, 2013

Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues: Pride/Humility

Thomas and I had our first Bible study on Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues on Monday, and I am already loving it!  I am learning so much, and I am hopeful that this will be a fruitful study to do throughout Lent to help me focus less on myself, resist the temptations of the deadly sins, and strive to live out the virtues.  

Most of you probably know that the deadly sins are pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. This week's lesson was on pride, and Father Barron said that there are two components to pride - theological and psychological.  The theological aspect of pride occurs when you turn yourself into God, and your ego becomes the center of the world, rather than God.  The psychological aspect of pride means “self-regard,”which entails focusing on yourself.  
All of this makes sense given the definitions of sin given in the Catechism: 

Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.” Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,” knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.” In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation."
-Catechism 1850

Father Robert Barron said that pride is the foundation of all of the other deadly sins. I had never really thought about it in that way before, but after he explained exactly what pride means, it made complete sense. When we are caught up in ourselves and put ourselves in the place of God, it is so easy to see how the other sins start to creep in. If I think I am so great and deserving of something that a friend gets, than it's easy to see how my pride would lead to envy or possibly even greed. If I think I deserve something, it's easy to see how I could become angry if I don't get it.

Father Barron said that the antidote for pride is humility.  A lot of times when we think about humility, we think about someone who quietly sits back in the corner saying that they are unworthy.  Father Barron explained humility is not boring like that at all. Rather, being humble means that you are completely rooted with your identity in Christ.  He said that God is nothing but love, and God wants us to share his immense love throughout the world.  When we are humble, we let go of our own agenda, and we begin to let God work through us. Father Barron said that "we are meant to allow God's love to surge through us for transformation of the world!" 

I loved that Father Barron said that it is anything but boring to become a humble person. Humility means submitting yourself completely to God and his plan for your life.  Mary was the ultimate example of humility because she accepted God's will for her life, even when it was something very difficult to do. You probably remember her saying, “behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Let it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).  Also, think about all of the great Catholics like Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.  The two of them were anything but boring!  They were rooted in Christ and submitted to his will, and because of that, God was able to do amazing things through them to glorify himself and let his light shine to the world.  

The reflections in this study really opened my eyes to how guilty I am of pride and being caught up in my own self, wanting things in my life to go exactly as I have planned. It became clear to see how pride is at the heart of all of my other sins. Father Barron gave two practical suggestions for combating pride:

1. Purposely see others as better than yourself. If there is someone you are competing with or someone who got something you wanted, put yourself in the lower position.  

2. Learn to love the little things in life. You will find authentic joy if you appreciate the small things.

Thomas and I were trying to brainstorm some other ways that we could work on our pride and we both agree that cultivating a heart of gratitude is also very important.  When we constantly remember that everything good comes from our God it makes it a lot harder to focus on ourselves.  

What are your tips for submitting to God's will, resisting pride, and cultivating humility?


  1. ONe of the biggest things I have done over the course of the past 4-6 years is pray the Litany of Humility --> http://michelle-endlessstrength.blogspot.com/2011/02/time-to-pray.html

    That prayer works wonders.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me about that prayer! I really need to get it back into my prayer life!

  2. We did this 7 deadly sins series as a bible study with other couples. I went all "Dante" on my husband and bought "The Divine Comedy" on CD to listen to in the car. "Inferno" scared the heck out of me. :)

    1. I love it! :) I would like to listen to that sometime...it would probably scare the heck out of me too!

  3. A church by us is doing this study too! We just got the Catholicism series from Fr. Barron this Christmas from Jim's folks; started watching it tonight, um amazing!

    Good reminder on learning to love the little things in life; its all about perspective:)

  4. That sounds like an awesome Bible study. Self-regard... That definitely puts things into perspective for me. Unfortunately, I have no tips b/c it's a constant work in progress (duh). Maybe the only tip I have is to not give up! :-)