A Word from the Pastor..April 2019

Apr 11, 2019 by

One of the passions – habits that blind us and prevent love – of which the early monastics spoke, is pride. Roberta Bondi quotes the fourth-century monk, Evagrius, in discussing how pride shows itself by a devaluing of others as we compare ourselves to those around us. Its core quality is having too low an opinion of others, rather than too high an opinion of oneself. One of its more obnoxious characteristics, Bondi says, is self-righteousness, as its sufferer tries to make sure that those around him or her are as good as they ought to be. Pride can begin in a sense of satisfaction as someone around us pays for what he or she may have done wrong. It can get to the point where its sufferer values nothing at all, not even God, except that which directly benefits him or her.1

Evagrius taught that pride taints everything it touches. He considered it the absolute and implacable enemy of love. Only humility can cure it.2 We discussed humility in an earlier issue, but it bears repeating. Bondi writes that, to the early monastics, humility, basically, was living out of the conviction that every human being is a beloved creature of God. It meant, therefore, “a way of seeing other people as being as valuable in God’s eyes as ourselves. It was for them a relational term having to do precisely with learning to value others, whoever they were. It had to do with developing the kind of empathy with the weaknesses of others [based on the knowledge of one’s own weaknesses] that made it impossible to judge others out of our own self-righteousness.”3 This attitude of the heart known as humility is the opposite of pride and, next to prayer, the most basic of all the virtues.

Blessings for Holy Week and Eastertide,

Betsy Caudill

1 Roberta C. Bondi, To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), p. 76.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid, p. 18.

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