Pride. It sucks.
It makes me afraid to make a mistake – because I don’t want to fail. Even in spiritual matters I find myself tip-toeing around egg shells, afraid that I will make a false step and fail.
I find myself succumbing to fear – that I would not live up to my own expectations. “I should be better than that!” That kind of mentality makes it hard for me to accept where I am in my journey when I feel I should be doing better than I am.
When I’ve done something good – when I’ve been guided by the Holy Spirit to speak some word of wisdom or be of help to someone, I catch myself dwelling on the good I’ve done and thinking, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, Ann! See how favoured you are by God!” Thankfully, God in His mercy gives me grace to catch myself doing that – and He also guards me from going to the other extreme and being too hard on myself. Well, He doesn’t let me be too hard on myself for too long anyway.
Pride makes it painful for me to be corrected. Pride makes me fearful of being perceived badly. Pride makes me afraid of failing. Pride makes me want to prove that I am right. Ah, what a pain is this thorn in my flesh – my root sin of pride!
In his book on spiritual discernment titled Weeds Among The Wheat, the late Fr. Thomas Green, S.J. explains that there are some weeds in our soul that God ordains must be left among the good wheat until the final harvest. Sometimes, the weeds that a Christian hates most and wishes to uproot are the most difficult to get rid of! They will find that like St. Paul when he begged Christ to remove his ‘thorn in the flesh’ that our Lord simply replies, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is at full strength in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)
So perhaps I must accept that pride is my great thorn in the flesh – the thorn I most want to get rid of. And perhaps it won’t be easy. But maybe the presence of this weed might stimulate some of the good wheat in my life to grow – such as deeper reliance on God, humility, compassion and charity. God knows my pride would give me much grief (you have no idea how uncomfortable I am when I am humbled). He must give me greater grace then, to sustain me and fulfill his promise!