Pride, the Worst of the Deadly Sins
Sin is the worst evil a person can commit in one’s life. Sin can broadly fall into the following categories or what are called the “Seven Deadly Sins”: Pride, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Wrath, and Envy. Now although all these sins are exceptionally dangerous to a person’s soul, there is one that stands out: pride. Pride is one of the worst sins on this list because it taints every virtue, and makes salvation much harder to obtain. Although the seven virtues counter each of the deadly sins, pride is the sin which is able to affect them all in a way that the others cannot. Let us therefore go through the list of virtues, and realize how horrid it is to mix in the sin of pride.
Humility – Humility is the virtue by which we realize our nothingness and our dependence upon God for everything. This is the true path to holiness, for we think nothing of ourselves, and only have God on our minds. This also helps the person to be charitable to one’s neighbor and helps us to follow the path to Christ.
If you have this virtue, but also have pride, this is what you get: If a soul tainted with pride wishes to have humility, he may say to God “I am nothing,” but praises himself for being so holy as to say that. Humility in a proud heart becomes a very artificial one, and soon looks down on others, because he doesn’t realize his littleness as much as the proud one does.
Generosity – The virtue by which a person gives, rather than receives. He thinks of others before himself, and never holds back anything material. This results in a detachment from any earthly good, making the soul only attached to the things of God.
If a person adds pride to this, there are two results. The first is giving what the person really doesn’t need, but constantly taking what the person “rightfully deserves.” This is a well-known saying in today’s world, and it is all due to pride. The second result would be that the person takes this to the extreme such as selling everything he owns, in order to say that he was the best and boast about how much he has given to such and such a charity, and isn’t attached to the world. This is a great mistake.
Chastity – This is the virtue of purity. This virtue preserves the great gift in which God has given us to continue the human population. Our Lady is the greatest symbol of this virtue, because she kept her chastity all through her life, while having Jesus Christ.
Pride can taint this great virtue as well. A proud soul will stay pure by, in fact, AVOIDING the world, just to say that he is not involved in the impurities of the world. But the fact is that impurity lies first in the heart or in one’s intentions, rather than solely in things physical. But the proud heart avoids everything possible, just to say that he is pure, and refuses to properly use the goods of this world.
Meekness – The virtue by which we are patient, when it comes to our neighbor doing us any injustice, or even just annoying us. Meekness helps us to bear these things, and to do it for the love of God.
Pride makes the person downright avoid people! He will stay away in a snobby manner, and if a fight comes into view, he will be the one who starts it, but when the other person tries to stop it, he will say “I’m not fighting! I think you need to calm down.” This not only makes this virtue superficial, but makes a person’s reputation plummet.
Temperance – Temperance is the virtue which counters gluttony. In other words, a person watches how he eats and drinks, in order to even be detached from the things that sustain a person’s life.
Proud souls, with this virtue, can go to the extreme, that is, excessive fasting, in order to boast about it. This virtue becomes tainted, and becomes much less meritorious for the soul. But in most cases, the person falls into gluttony, because fasting in these days doesn’t really matter.
Kindness – The virtue by which we simply love our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. This is, as Jesus has told us, as important as the first commandment.
If you add pride to this, you get flattery. This means that you compliment a person inordinately, just to either look good, to make your reputation better, or to get something out of the person. This is, once again, very superficial, because, on the surface you seem quite charitable, but on the inside, you could hate the person, and no one would know it.
Diligence – Diligence is the virtue which helps the person to continue in his Faith, even during hardships and trials. This is one of the virtues that gets overlooked in our society today, because many people lose the Faith due to the trials in life.
Pride makes the person continue in the Faith but in a proud manner. This is very dangerous, because he thinks he is doing the right thing but never sees a need to change.
In short, pride is stealing from God the rightful glory due to Him. We tell Him that we are the reason for our virtue and holiness, rather than recognizing the sole source of this goodness. Most people forget that all good is from God alone, and applies it to themselves. This vice begins to eat away at our soul, and make what we thought was Faith, Hope, and Charity, to Me, Myself, and I. The Almighty will then step back, and let the soul worship what he really wants, himself.
There are many ways that you can save your soul from this vice, but the main one is to pray for the grace of Humility. This is easily acquired by saying the “Litany of Humility”, or reminding yourself that all the goodness that you ever did came from God, and any sinfulness came from yourself. In having this virtue, we begin to love God more, as well as grow in the spiritual life. This is the most important thing in our life because it is the only thing that lasts for eternity.