I blinked…and almost missed Advent this year. I have been severely time-challenged the last few weeks with the demands of my job, the family’s busy schedule and the launch of a new book. Sure, I have been aware of Advent at some level, but I am not certain that I have truly experienced Advent. The fact that I realized this after some quality prayer and reflection time in Eucharistic Adoration yesterday likely confirms it. I have been in this spot before and I know full well the culprit: pride.
What does pride have to do with my Advent experience? Everything. When I am prideful I place my will before the will of Christ. My pride turns my work into something I do for my own-self-satisfaction rather than for His glory. In this Advent season when I should be eagerly preparing and waiting for His coming, I have been busy doing everything on my busy to-do list instead. My pride pushes me away from our Lord when I should be running towards Him.
I prayed in earnest for the answer yesterday and it occurred to me, being the practical guy I am, that I needed a way to get back on track when my pride raises its ugly head. I decided to turn my pride into a weapon…against itself. The next time this happens, I will think about the word PRIDE like this:
Pray- I will pray for the courage to put my pride aside and be humble. I will pray for patience and forgiveness.
Reflect-I will reflect on where I got off track and the causes behind my prideful behavior in the hopes of avoiding or overcoming them in the future.
Invite-I will invite friends and family to hold me accountable and tell me the truth if they see me indulging my prideful nature.
Detach-I will work harder at detaching from the world and the materialistic culture that surrounds us. I will instead focus on things that matter: following Christ, loving my family and serving others.
Examen-I have been recommending the Jesuit Daily Examen for years as an excellent way to integrate pray and reflection into our busy lives. For some reason I have not been performing my daily Examen lately and the result was I did not detect the reemergence of my prideful behavior in a timely manner.
The good news is there is an antidote for pride: humility. The virtue of humility is the best way to counter the sin of pride. Author Peter Kreeft wrote, “Pride does not mean an exaggerated opinion of your own worth; that is vanity. Pride means playing God, demanding to be God. ‘Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,’ says Satan, justifying his rebellion, in Milton’s Paradise Lost. That is the formula for pride. Pride is the total ‘my will be done.’ Humility is ‘thy will be done.’ Humility is focused on God, not self. Humility is not an exaggeratedly low opinion of yourself. Humility is self-forgetfulness. A humble man never tells you how bad he is. He’s too busy thinking about you to talk about himself.”
You may not be struggling like me and this season of Advent may be the most wonderful you have ever experienced. But, if you feel that you are off track or if you seem to be wrestling with your way versus Christ’s way, there is a chance the prideful side has taken over. Consider the five practical steps I have offered in the PRIDE acronym as a way to get back on track. Also, remember that pride is a sin. I’ll be going to Reconciliation this Saturday. How about you?
I hope the rest of your Advent is blessed…and PRIDE free!
Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was recently released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online and your local Catholic bookstore.
The Catholic Briefcase was recently voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.
Randy Hain’s exciting new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith will be released by Liguori Publications on November 29th, 2012 and is available in your local Catholic bookstores, Aquinas and More Catholic Goods and on Amazon.
Looking for a Catholic Speaker? Check out Randy’s speaker’s page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.
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Category: Surrender & Strength