Choose a topic from Part 2B:

162. Pride

1. Pride is the habit, the vice, which disposes a man tomake himself more than he is.

2. Pride is a special vice, for it has the special objectof inordinate esteem for one's own excellence. Yet pride hasalso the character of a general vice, for it is involved, directlyor indirectly, in other sins, and notably in all sins ofmalice.

3. Pride aspires; it tends; it desires something-notsimply, but as involving some element of difficulty. Theproud man is under pressure; he makes effort to be more than heactually is. Now, a habit that involves drive and effort (and, bythat token, involves difficulty with which effort grapples) belongsto the appetitive part of man; it has its subject in the will.Pride resides in the will.

4. St. Gregory (Moral. xxiii 4) lists fourspecies of pride: (a) thinking that one's good is from oneself;(b) thinking that one's good is from God but is owing toone's own deserts; (c) claiming excellence not possessed; (d)despising others and wishing to seem the exclusive possessor ofwhat one has.

5. Pride is an assumed self-sufficiency which omits ordiscounts God in considering what one is. This is manifestly a verygreat inor-dinateness, and is, in its genus or kind, aserious or mortal evil. Yet, to be mortally sinful, an individualact of pride would have to be a conscious and fully willedmisprising of God. Most acts of pride are venial sins by reason ofdeficiency of awareness, or lack of full consent of the will.

6. Since pride is a direct turning away from God and is apractical act of contempt for God, because it is an unwillingnessto be subjectto him, it ranks with that actual hatred for Godwhich we have called the very worst of sins.

7. Aversion from God is in all sins, but it is the veryessence of pride. Other sins involve this aversion by their natureas sins; pride is this aversion. Aversion from God isconsequent upon other sins; in pride this aversion is the sinitself. Hence the first and worst of all sins is the sin of pride;it shares this evil distinction with hatred for God.

8. Pride, as a special sin, is the source of many othersins, and is therefore listed as a capital sin. But pride, as ageneral sin, is not merely the source of other sins; it is actuallyin them. St. Gregory (Moral. xxxi 17) calls pridethe queen of vices which conquers the heart of a man and deliversit to the capital sins. And therefore St. Gregory does not mentionpride itself as one of the capital sins, for he considers it themother of them all.

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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