Pride.

It was the first sin committed against God by Lucifer himself. It is most common stumbling block amongst the elite and powerful. Each and every one of us has been struck by pride in their lifetime, and for many, it’s the constant source of their woes.

It’s personally my biggest failing for as long as I can remember. I have been blessed to have been given not only a superior intellect, but an unerring passion for knowledge and wisdom. Naturally, if people were to argue about things they have less knowledge, desire, and perception about, I sometimes brush them off and let them know it. Like the rich men in the Letter of James, through my superior power I can throw my weight around. For the briefest moment, it’s sinfully gratifying. But it’s also absolutely soul crushing. I feel haunted by tyranny for a long time afterwards.

Furthermore, I’ve caught myself doing the exact same things that we heard the Apostles did in the Gospel of Mark. John the Theologian said,

‘Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’

Jesus then tells him and the other Apostles to leave them alone… before lecturing them. Some might construe this as evidence against a visible hierarchy such as the Catholic Church, where mere faith in Jesus makes you a legitimate follower, though such views fall into the trap of cherry-picking Bible quotes (the reality, I think, was that those casting devils out were the other disciples of Jesus, just not one of the Twelve. In fact, it seems to confirm a hierarchy even while Christ was alive). The gospel makes clear that we, as faithful Christians, should never prevent others from worshipping God. That’s not to say we should tolerate incorrect worship – Christ did not tolerate the Pharisees, for example – but if we come between Christ and his faithful, we are liable to sin. The remedy to obstruction, then, is humility and meekness.

“And from pride preserve your servant, never let it be my master. So shall I be above reproach, free from grave sin.”

Our Blessed Lord always taught us to be humble and meek, yet it seems contrary to human nature. And surely, to aspire to share in the divinity of the Holy Trinity is to aspire to share in glory and greatness? However, no one can deny that living in humility and meekness keeps our minds clear, hearts settled, and souls satisfied.

It’s one of the many ironies of life, and thus of the Christian faith, and perhaps a mystery in which we must reflect and pray for understanding.

Num 11:25-29, Ps 19:8,10,12-13,14, Jas 5:1-6, Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
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