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Humility and Pride

“According to the holy fathers, pride is the root and cause of all sinful passions. It is totally destructive for a person’s spiritual development and eternal salvation. Pride is the opposite of humility, and humility is the source of all virtues, and the basis for true spiritual development and salvation.” (Priest Tarasiy Borozenets)


“In addition to turning our attention away from God and His word, making spiritual growth difficult or even impossible, pride has a number of other rather negative effects on the prideful person. 1) Despondency. When we believe things should be a certain way (pride) and our desires are not fulfilled, we are often frustrated and fall into anger and despair…2) Talkativeness. Pride is never quiet. It constantly promotes itself and make a display….3) Idleness. Pride makes the soul of those striving to advance on the spiritual path sluggish, apathetic, and mindless as self-love, that pimp of the passions…4) Pride renders religious activities useless: The fast of the vainglorious person is without reward and his prayer is futile…5) Darkness. A person consumed by pride is inevitably led to despair and falls away from [the light of ]God into the outer darkness…” (Fr. Edward Rommen, St. John Climacus)


“Honest confession of our sins and failures, when made with a modicum of humility, is the single proven path for receiving Christ’s renewing grace and correction. This is what Gospel reveals concerning the first disciples. It is a life-giving truth for us, too, showing us how we may understand, change, and grow in faith and humility in Him.” (Dynamis 7/28/2020)


”It is only in that way, through mysterious humility incomprehensible to the world, that a true Christian comes to one of the two greatest revelations in life. The first of these revelations is that one must discover the truth about oneself, and see oneself as one truly is. You must meet your own self. And believe me it’s the most important acquaintance. A vast number of people live their lives never even bothering to discover themselves at all. Sometimes we only have the vaguest notions or fantasies of who we are, and so depending upon our own vanity, pride, resentments, and ambitions we see nothing. But the truth, however bitter it might seem to us, is that we are ‘wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ … Remember that verse from Revelations? And this truth only comes to us through scriptural and ruthlessly honest examination of oneself. Through true humility. True humility does not humiliate a man. On the contrary, anyone who survives this ordeal, this bitterest and harshest of truths becomes a saint. It is only those who are humble who can peer into the future, who can become prophets and miracle workers, wondered at by all of you.” (Metropolitan Tikhon)


“As important as the practice of humility may be, it has the weakness of being passive. We cannot “do” humility as a thing in itself—it is practiced in response to something. My experience over the years has consistently shown the weakness of doing a negative. When we battle a bad habit, for example, simply not doing it is seldom effective. Something good must be done in its place. Life is best lived in the active voice. Not surprisingly, there is an active voice in the practice of humility. The giving of thanks is humility in the active voice.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“People who are humble, don’t have a tongue that makes observations about others who show neglect or who are living a casual life. They don’t have eyes that look out for failings in others, nor ears to listen to something that doesn’t benefit their soul. They aren’t concerned with other people, only with their own sins. They’re peaceable towards everyone, not because of friendship but because of God’s command. If you fast all week and undertake great labors, but are outside this path, then it’s all a waste of time.” (Abba Isaiah)


“Humility, finally, will enable us to hear what others tell us and will help us cultivate within ourselves a continuous attitude of listening to the world around us, to friends, to those who are not so friendly, to what we encounter in prayer and worship. Humility makes us receptive of all that comes to us that might bring us to love of God and of each other. Humility is the only possible attitude out of which we can ever speak a word of truth to another person without doing terrible harm to ourselves and the other. After all, what we are about is never ever executing God’s righteous judgment on another person or ourselves.” (Roberta Bondi)


“It takes the spiritual gift of discernment to recognize the difference between what comes from our own ego and what comes from the Spirit of Christ. What comes from our ego bolsters our pride. But what comes from Christ engenders our humility. Pride divides us from others. But in humility we can be united with others.” (Fr. Basil)


“We display humility by being open to the possibility that the problems or shortcomings in our interpersonal relations might not be due to others, but might be coming from within us. We must begin by allowing ourselves to see all our shortcomings, flaws, and deficiencies without turning away, without assigning meanings of failure to them, and without blaming others.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Due to pride, we often crave words and actions from others that distract us from seeing ourselves clearly and instead fuel illusions of self-importance and self- righteousness. When doing so becomes a settled habit, we can easily find ourselves attempting to use religion to serve our egos instead of being focused on offering ourselves to the Lord….What might be seen in a child as a means of learning to become conscious of his personal existence is in an adult an expression of untamed primary narcissism. Long before Freud, the holy ascetics of the Christian East identified this behavior and gave it the name of “philautism,” or egotistical love of self. They considered it to be a deep-seated passion, the mother of all the others, like vanity and pride with which it is closely linked, and which are also among the worst passions. Hiding behind ideas of “communication” and “sharing” makes them even worse, for it gives them a false appearance of altruism.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters, Jean-Claude Larchet)


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