Thursday, August 04, 2005

Pride

My pet deadly sin. I've got pride covered. It's just so clever, subtle, and hide-able. But of course, as we all know, a proud person can spot another proud person a mile away. It's like we have a secret handshake, except that it is rarely acknowledged. We never know for sure whether the other person realizes that we see theirs, and we never know for certain if the other person sees ours. I think mine displays itself quite readily though. Like the other night,

Roommate: How was theology on tap?
Self: It was alright.
R: What did they talk about?
S: Pride, but the talk wasn't very good. I'm the proudest person in the world and I didn't find it helpful at all.

Hahaha. Typical! It's just amazing. How does it go away? Unfortunately, as my confessor reminds me, the only way you get humility is by being humiliated. I've gotten to the point that falling up the escalator, as I did yesterday, doesn't bother me that much at all. My toe really did hurt more than my pride. And I generally laugh about other clumsy or stupid things that I do. It's the intellectual stuff that gets me. I have to be right, I have to know it all, I have to have all the answers.

I was struck by this quote of Dr. Schindler's about Benedict XVI:

"He is never defensive because he has no ego to protect. What he defends is not himself but the faith he has received and the Church he is meant to serve."
That's it, right there. I get defensive not because I want so badly to defend the truth- what I tell myself- but because I want to be understood. I want to be thought well of, respected, and capable.

Yesterday, someone from another faith was asking questions and talking about inclusive language and all sorts of things, and I was getting so agitated. Why? It was unnecessary to get defensive there, he was not trying to be difficult... even if he was, it would have been much better to ask him questions and try to understand his point of view. Let him make his case.

I think it's just frustrating for me when things seem to make perfect sense until I'm asked to articulate them and I can't. After a year of studying for my masters, it seems I'm still far from eloquent about difficult matters. Such as the story going around the blogs regarding the statement on Benedict's desk about same-sex attraction and ordination to the priesthood. I know that it matters. Of course it matters. And I know we've talked about this in class before, but can I articulate why a homosexual is probably unfit for the priesthood? Not very well. The only question I remember is this: "If a man is not able to be a father in the sense of begetting a child through a marriage, is he fit to be a spiritual father to a parish?" I think that is a question. The answer is not as clear, which is why I think it's a delicate matter requiring close personal attention and knowledge of the individual man in question. This is just one example of an important matter that can seem clear in my head but it turns out a real understanding of the issue is lacking. And as long as that is missing, and I'm not able to talk about things with people without getting all fired up, not only will I not be a very good teacher, but I'll be a poor witness for Christ in general. I have to learn to be like Benedict-- to have no ego to protect, but only a love for the truth, the church, and everyone I come in contact with.

4 comments:

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Devin Rose said...

One way to combat your intellectual pride could be to marry a man who is more intelligent than you are, and then humble yourself before his knowledge and wisdom. :) (I'm three-fourths joking when I say that).

I totally agree with what you said about humility coming from humiliations. That same thought has occurred to me, and God has given me the opportunity to be humliated everyday. Sometimes I still run from the fear of being humiliated, instead of facing the fear and possibly having to endure the humiliation.

annee said...

On retreat this past weekend, I read the following passage:

"Pride? Why?"

And that's all it says! Such simplicity and power ... It really says it all about pride! Something to ponder for us all ...

your wretched friend,
Anne Marie :)

Anonymous said...

Hey this is James... from Xanga, I understnd what you are saying. I can't really see your pride, but know my own well enough to understand. The Catholic faith is interesting and deep. There are many aspects that are still a stumbling block to me. I will not mention them, because I don't want anyone to think I am being arguementitive. I just have an apreciation for the Catholic church now and must still know more before I accept. Sorry about the random entry... Keep being honest and growing in Christlikeness