Humility of Heart
Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo

Examen on Humility Towards our Neighbour

ACCORDING to the doctrine of Saint Thomas
[2a 2æ, qu. clxi, art. 3] the first act of humility consists in subjecting ourselves to God, and the next is to subject-----that is to say to humble-----ourselves to our neighbour for the love of God; as the Holy Ghost says through St. Peter: "Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake"; [1 Peter ii, 13] and the same Holy Spirit exhorts us through St. Paul to excel each other in humility. "In humility let each esteem others better than themselves." [Phil. ii, 3]

120. Now as your neighbour can be either your superior, your equal or your inferior, it is certain that you must practice humility first of all towards your superior which is of precept, for, as St. Peter says, such is the will of God: "For so is the will of God." [1 Peter ii, 15]
Do you show to your superiors and betters that obedience and reverence which your state exacts? How do you receive their reprimands? Do you feel that humility of heart towards them "with a good will serving" [
Eph. vi, 7] which St. Paul enjoins? There is a humility necessary for the imitation of Christ, "Who humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death." [Phil. ii, 8] There may sometimes be an excuse of impotence or inadvertence in not obeying those whom God has set over you, but to refuse to obey is always an act of inexcusable pride. As St. Bernard [citing St. Thomas] says: "To be unwilling to obey is the proud effort of the will."  [2a 2æ, qu. clxi, art. 2]

121. How do you behave to your equals? Do you wish to be above them, to be preferred before them, not contented with your own state? Every time that you feel this desire in your heart, say to yourself that this was the sin of Lucifer, who said in his heart: "I will ascend."  [Isai. xiv, 14] And St. Thomas teaches that the virtue of humility consists essentially in moderating this desire to exalt ourselves above others.

Do you esteem yourself above others for any gift of nature, education or grace? That is true pride, and you must subdue this by humility, calling yourself inferior to others, as in fact you may be before God.

122. How do you behave to your inferiors? It is towards these that you must exercise humility most of all. "The greater thou art," says the inspired word, "the more humble thyself in all things." [
Ecclus iii, 20] And although they are inferior as regards their condition of life, remember always that before God they are your equals. "Knowing that the Lord both of them and you is in Heaven, and there is no respect of persons with Him." [Eph. vi, 9]
In this way you will become kind and considerate, as St. Paul advises when He says: "Consenting to be humble." [Rom. xii, 16] Do you command them haughtily and imperiously, against the express wish of God Who does not desire you to behave to your inferiors ''as lording it"? [1 Peter v, 3] And when you are obliged to correct them, do you do it in the proper spirit: "In the spirit of meekness," as the Apostle teaches us, "considering thyself lest thou also be tempted"?
[Gal. vi, 1]

There is also another kind of humility which is false, and against which we are warned by the Holy Ghost when He says: "Be not lowly in thy wisdom, lest being humbled thou be deceived into folly." [Ecclus xiii, 11] If you possess the talent of teaching, counselling, helping and doing good to the souls of others, and you then retire, saying, as if from humility: "I am not good enough"; or if you are in a position when it is your duty to correct, punish or exercise authority, and you abandon it from motives of humility, this is not true humility but weakness and cowardice, and as far as externals are concerned we must observe the rule of the holy father St. Augustine: "Lest whilst humility is unduly observed the authority of the ruler be undermined amongst those who ought to be submissive." [In Reg.]
Much as I should praise you for regarding yourself as inferior in merit to all those below you, "in the knowledge of your heart," as St. Gregory says so well; yet it must not be to the detriment of your office, lessening its superiority. For being in a superior position does not prevent you from being humble of heart; but this humility must not be an impediment to the exercise of your authority.

The quotation from St. Augustine is referred to by St. Thomas: "In secret look upon others as your superiors to whom in public you are superior." [
2a 2æ, qu. clxi, art. 6 ad 1]
123. We have to practice two kinds of humility to all our neighbours-----one is of knowledge, the other of affection. The humility of knowledge consists in recognizing and holding ourselves in our inmost soul to be inferior to all, and that is why Jesus Christ advises us in His gospel to take the lowest place: "Sit down in the lowest place."
[Luke xiv, 10] He does not tell us to sit down in a place in the middle, nor in one of the last, but in the last; that is we ought to have such an opinion of ourselves that we must esteem ourselves inferior to all, as St. Bernard exclaims: "That thou shouldst take thy seat alone and least of all, not only not putting thyself before others, but not even daring to compare thyself with others." [Serm. 37 in Cant.]

The reason is that you do not know but that those whom you deem inferior to yourself, and above whom you exalt yourself, may not be far more dear to God, and be placed hereafter at the right hand of the Highest.

The truly humble man believes that everyone is better than himself, and that he is the worst of all. But are you really humble like this in your own opinion? You easily compare yourself with this one and that one, but to how many do you not prefer yourself with the pride of the Pharisee: "I am not as the rest of men."
[Luke xviii, 11] When you prefer yourself to others it often seems as if you speak with a certain humility and modesty, saying: By the grace of God I have not the vices of such an one: By the grace of God I have not committed so many grievous sins as such an one. But is it really true that you recognize that you owe all this to the grace of God, and that you give Him the glory rather than to yourself? If you esteem yourself more highly than such an one, and if he in his turn esteems himself inferior to you, he is therefore humbler than you, and for that reason better. If by the grace of God you are chaste, charitable and just, you must endeavour by that same grace to be humble as well. And how can you be humble if you have such an abundance of self-esteem, preferring yourself to others?

When St. Paul teaches us that in holy humility we must believe all others to be better than ourselves, he also teaches us the way to accomplish this, namely, not by considering the good we have in ourselves, but that which others have or may have, "each one not considering the things that are his own, but those that are other men's."
[Phil. ii, 4] Upon this St. Thomas founds this doctrine that all the evil that is in man, and is done by man, comes from man, and all the good that is in man and is done by man comes from God; and he says that for four reasons we may unhesitatingly affirm that everyone is better than we are.

The first reason is to consider in our hearts what really belongs to us, namely, malice and wickedness, and to consider what our neighbour possesses that is of God, namely, his innumerable benefits. The second is to consider some particular good quality which that person may have and which we have not. The third is to recognize some fault in ourselves which that other person has not. The fourth is to possess a wise fear that there may be some secret pride within us which corrupts our holiest actions, and that we may be mistaken in the opinion we have of ourselves, imagining ourselves to be virtuous when we are not. [
2a 2æ, qu. clxi, art. 3 in 4; dist. 25, qu. ii, art. 3 ad 2]

124. The humility of affection consists in the recognition that we are more miserable than any one else, and to love to be regarded as such by others. To be vile and abject in our own eyes through the knowledge that we have of ourselves is the humility of necessity, to which we are compelled by the obvious truth of it; but to have a sincere desire to be looked upon as vile and abject by others, this is true and virtuous humility of the heart. "This is of necessity, that is of the will," says St. Bernard, and he adds: "I fear lest in some respects that he whom truth humbles, the will should extol."
[Serm. 42 in Cant.] Take heed lest, while you do not esteem yourself, you should still wish to be esteemed by others. This would be to love something that does not exist, to love a lie.

How far you are from that humility of affection! How you fear lest any of your faults should be revealed, and how many excuses and justifications you make, in order that this imputation of a fault which you have really committed may not diminish the esteem in which others hold you. In order to be more esteemed, you try to show your ability and talent, and if you have but little ability and little talent, how often you pretend you have more in the hope of being esteemed still more!

And since, far from loving self-abasement, you have such a desire to gain the esteem of others, you belong truly to those proud sons of Adam, of whom the Prophet cried: "Why do you love vanity and seek after lying?" [Ps. iv, 3] Confess the truth to your own conscience, that you have more pride than humility, and that you love vanity better than truth.

125. It is this humility of affection, this humility of the heart taught us by Jesus Christ, which makes us as little children, and enables us to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. But what shame for you if, when you examine yourself, you find you have not even the shadow of such humility! If you happen to hear that others have spoken uncharitably of you, and maligned you, are you not perturbed, disquieted, grieved, displeased, distressed? How you resent it when you think some one has wronged you or not treated you with proper respect! Are you suspicious, easily offended, and punctilious about all things that concern your honour and dignity? I am not speaking now of that honour which is founded on virtue, but of that despicable honour which depends on the opinion of the world. What value do you set upon this honour? Do you take offence easily, considering yourself injured by every little adverse word, every slight that you receive from others, becoming angry and irritated, nourishing aversion and rancour, demanding humble apologies and satisfaction, and showing yourself unforgiving, irreconcilable towards them: fearing to lose your dignity, if you consented to make peace like a good Christian? If such be the case, where is your humility, either of knowledge or affection, which is necessary for your salvation?

126. In order to know to what extent you are lacking in humility, examine yourself from this point of view. The humble man not only is not angry with those who offend him, but loves them and gives them back good for evil. Yes, it is indeed so, because he looks upon them as instruments of the mercy and justice of God, and he is also persuaded that his sins and ingratitude towards the Divine Goodness deserve far worse punishment. And you?

The humble man, when he hears that people are speaking ill of him, is not disturbed, but quietly learns to amend his ways, even though he may not have committed the faults of which he has been accused. He does not lament, as if he were persecuted: he does not say that those who speak thus of him are malignant and jealous rivals; but he believes that they know him better than he knows himself. Do you do this?

The humble man, when he is reproved, receives the correction in good part, and thanks him who has had the kindness and goodness to give it. He does not judge or speak evil of anyone, because he believes that everyone is better than he is, and because he knows he is capable of doing worse things still. He lives in peace witb all and respects all and, without expecting to be honoured himself, he is the first to honour others, as the holy Apostles Peter and Paul have commanded: "Having peace with all men." [
Rom. xii, 18] "With honour preventing one another."[Ibid. ii, 10] "Honour all men." [1 Pet. ii, 17] And you-----what can you say of yourself?

Perhaps you may imagine that these things are points of perfection; but they are points of humility, which, as far as you are concerned, may be of precept. When it is a question of humility, I should not like you to imagine that you need only reach that point which is absolutely necessary for you, without going a single hair's breadth beyond it.
When you say to yourself, "I am not obliged to do this or that act of humility," it may be that you are making a great mistake. However much your exterior humility must be directed by prudence, you certainly cannot dispense with the interior humility of the heart.

127. If the humble man becomes aware that he has offended or injured his neighbour, he immediately humbles himself, apologizes and asks to be forgiven, manifesting sorrow for the offense he has given. The humble man always fears to be dictatorial when carried away by his zeal, and therefore proceeds with much circumspection, exercising his zeal more on himself than on others. He gives his opinion modestly, and submits it to that of others without obstinacy. But you?

The humble man respects and reverences those above him, and he is kind and courteous to the poorest of the poor; and in this he only follows the teaching of the Preacher: "Make thyself affable to the congregation of the poor, and humble thy soul to the ancient." [Ecclus. iv, 7] Is this the way in which you generally behave?

The humble man does not seek to appear humble by affectation of manner; on the contrary, if he knows that others believe him to be humble, he feels a painful confusion. His nature is to be sincere, simple and straightforward. He is of lowly bearing, and lowly too has he kept his human caprices and his pride. He is not hard and haughty, but gentle, reverent and obedient. And you?

Ah, try and realize how backward you are in the school of Jesus Christ! He came to teach you one single lesson, that of humility: "Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart." And how have you profited by this lesson hitherto? You will reply that many of these practices seem very difficult to you; but say to yourself: "The impure find it difficult to live in chastity, the avaricious find it difficult to give alms, and in the same way the proud man finds it difficult to practice humility." It is not that humility be difficult of itself, but it is your pride that makes it difficult, and we may say with Eusebius: "You make the yoke of the Lord heavy for yourselves." [Hom. de Machab.]

Examen on Humility Towards Oneself

RICHARD of St. Victor
[lib. 2, cap. xxiii, De Epul. inter Hom.] defines humility as the interior contempt of oneself. Examine a little whether you have this feeling towards yourself. When you have dreams of dignity and honour, and you imagine yourself in the midst of grandeur and chimerical honours, how do you behave in these proud and vain imaginings? Do you rejoice and delight in them, desiring to dwell in them more and more? If we love humility we must treat these dreams of worldly ambition and pride with disdain and hatred, just as those who love chastity treat impure thoughts. We ought to pray thus with King David: "Let not the foot of pride come unto me," because pride first enters into the soul through the thoughts of the mind, and he who accustoms himself to delight in these thoughts has already formed the bad habit of pride in his heart.

129. Do you forget your own nothingness? Have you any self-esteem? If such be the case you are a seducer, a deceiver of your own self, because, as St. Paul says: Whoever believes himself to be something "deceiveth himself." [
Gal. vi, 3] Do you delight and glory in your knowledge, your power, your riches, or in some other gift natural or moral? Remember the word God spoke by the Prophet Jeremiah: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches." [Jer. i, 23] And again by St. Paul: "We ought not to please ourselves." [Rom. xv, 1]

This delight and glory insinuates itself insensibly, but he who is humble notices it quickly and repels it as being nothing but vanity and only puffing up and filling the heart with pride.

In the same way with the spiritual life. Do you think yourself virtuous because you sometimes do a little good? You would do well then not to regard yourself as good, but to imagine yourself in Jerusalem repudiated by God, because, as the prophet said, thou art "trusting thy beauty."
[Ezec. xvi, 15] And St. Gregory says of such as you: "The soul hath confidence in its beauty when it takes some good action upon itself." [Epist. cxxvi]

The proud man dwells more willingly on the little good he does, on the little devotion he feels, than on the thought of the evil he has committed and which he does daily. He puts behind him the multitude of his sins, so that he need not be ashamed and humble himself; and he reflects often upon certain of his minute exercises of Christian piety, so as to indulge his self-complacency, as St. Gregory says: "It is easier for them to see within themselves that which is
pleasing to them, than that which is displeasing." [lib. 22, Mor. c. i] Perhaps you also have this tendency.

  130. Humility teaches us also to hold ourselves unworthy of any good that we may possess, even to the very air that we breathe, and to hold ourselves worthy of all the evils and vituperations of the world. Such are the thoughts of the humble man. He always keeps before his eyes the sins he has committed, and his malicious tendency to commit them again. Therefore he esteems himself worse than the Turks, who have not the light of grace, while he has also that of faith; worse than all sinners, that do not realize the gravity of sin, and who have not received so
much help of grace as he has; worse than the Jews, "For if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory " [1 Cor. ii, 8]; worse even than the demons, who sinned only once in thought, whilst he has sinned so often even in action. But do you ever stop to consider these things seriously?

131. Do you place yourself in dangerous occasions, saying: "I will not fall into sin," thus presuming too much on your own strength? St. Gregory says that there is nothing further from humility than such a presumption. "Nothing in man is further removed from humility than reliance upon his own virtue."
[lib. 22, Mor. c. iii] Are you disturbed and agitated at the thought of the faults you commit, and of your slow progress in acquiring virtue? This is pride, and comes from your presumption in thinking you can do great things of your own strength. But it is necessary to humble ourselves and yet not be discouraged, but to learn of St. Augustine, who says of himself: "The more I lack, the more humble I shall be." [in Ps. xxxviii] I shall be more humble, if I reflect upon those virtues which I ought to have, and have not.

Are you prudent, not trusting in your own ingenuity nor in your own opinions, without caring to ask advice, especially in matters of great importance? This is a great sin against humility, and the Holy Ghost thus admonishes you: "Lean not on thy own prudence: be not wise in thy own conceit." [
Prov. iii, 5, 7] And St. Jerome calls that pride intolerable by which we give others to understand that we are so wise we do not need their advice: "Pride is unbearable, but to account oneself nothing needs counsel." [cap. i Isa.]

132. It is necessary to be humble not only in one's thoughts but in one's words, because the humble man says little, following the counsel of the Holy Ghost: "Speak not anything rashly: let thy words be few."
[Eccles v, 1] To talk much proceeds from pride, because we are persuaded that we know a great deal and we wish to impress our thoughts and opinions on the minds of others.

Are you careful in speaking not to say anything in your own praise, or anything that might cause you to be praised by others, not to appear learned, wise or spiritual, ostentatiously displaying your personal advantages or those that belong to your family? It is easy in these things for you to be dominated by pride, and holy Tobias warns us, saying: "Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind or in thy words." [
Tob. iv,14]
Do you sometimes set yourself up as an example, saying it would be well to do so and so as you have done it yourself? If you have some gift of God, do you talk about it as if to say: "Thanks be to God, I have not such and such a vice; thanks be to God, I have such and such a virtue"? Call to remembrance the advice given by the Angel to Tobias, that it is good to keep hidden the secret gifts of God: "For it is good to hide the secret of a king."
Tob. xii, 7]

It may be that sometimes you speak ill of yourself, in order that others may contradict it.

This is the way of him of whom it is said, "There is one who humbleth himself wickedly," [
Ecclus xix, 23] who pretends indeed to flee from praise, yet seeks it, to flee from honours and courts them. You must accustom yourself not to speak either ill or well of yourself, because it is easy for pride to inspire your words in either case.

133. When you hear yourself praised, what precautions do you take? Self-love is quick to mingle some grain of its own incense with that which it receives from others. I mean by this that through the corruption of our nature we are very ready to approve these praises as if they were truly and justly due to us, and to flatter ourselves with vainglory; but all this comes from want of humility. St. Augustine, speaking of this pleasure which we derive from being praised, addresses this prayer to God: "Lord, put this folly far from me," [
Lib. 10, Confess., cap. xxxvii] for he held it as a real madness to take pleasure in vanity and deceits.; and when he heard others praise him, he pondered upon the knowledge he had of himself and upon the justice of God, saying in his own heart: "I know myself better than they know me, but God knows me better than I know myself." [Enarr. in Ps. xxv]

A heart that is truly humble, says Saint Gregory, always fears to hear its own praises, because it fears that this praise may either be false or may rob it of the merit and reward promised to true virtue. "If the heart is truly humble, the good that it hears of itself it either fails to recognize or fears lest the hope of future title to reward be changed for some passing favour."
[lib. 22, Mor. c. iii]

The humble man, says St. Thomas, is amazed when anyone speaks well of him, and there is nothing that astonishes him more than to hear himself praised. Thus the Blessed Virgin, when she heard from the Archangel Gabriel that she was to become the Mother of God, had such a lowly opinion of herself that she marvelled greatly
that she should be exalted to such an eminent dignity. "To a humble soul nothing is more wonderful than to hear its own excellence; thus, to Mary's saying, 'How shall this be?' the Angel brings forward a proof, not to take away her belief but rather to dispel her wonder." [3 part., qu. xxx, art. 4]
But pride may even insinuate itself into this very contempt of praise, as St. Augustine says: "A man is often foolishly proud of his own foolish contempt of himself." [Lib.10]

But if it be necessary for us to praise those who are present, it is not less necessary to exercise discretion and prudence in so doing, as St. Augustine also teachs: "Lest the most dangerous temptation be found in the love of giving praise."

Adulation is always pernicious, whether we adulate ourselves or others.

134. One can also sin against humility by the pomp and vanity of one's attire. This is what Queen Esther calls "the sign of my pride and glory," [Esther xiv, 16] and we must keep our hearts detached from such love because such attire is only right when it is suited to our state and condition, and when we wear it with the right intention: "Glory not in apparel at any time," [Ecclus. xi, 4] says the Holy Ghost.

However beautiful the apparel you wear may be, do not allow vainglory to enter your heart; and if you have to appear in public in state, guard yourself against vanity, "and be not exalted in the day of thy honour." [Ibid.]

Excess, self-complacency, the desire to please, to attract attention to oneself, to be above one's equals, or to equal one's superiors by the gorgeousness of one's attire, are things to be moderated and subdued by humility. St. Thomas gives an excellent rule for this: "Extravagance in sumptuous apparel is to be restrained by humility."
[2a 2æ, qu. clxi, art.

These necessities which we deem essential for the decorum of our state must have their limits prescribed by Christian modesty and simplicity, and not by pride or the luxurious tendency of the times. And the vanity with which our grace of bearing or beauty of face inspires us must also be restrained by humility; because "favour is deceitful and beauty is vain." [Prov. xxxi, 30]
135. As to certain exterior actions, indifferent in themselves, but which if done with a good intention can tend to make us virtuous, the one necessary thing is to have a care that they be performed with humility, as Christ teaches us: "I will be little in my own eyes." [2 Kings vi, 22] This is what each of us should say to himself, with holy King David, and it helps us greatly to form this good habit of humility towards ourselves, in order that we may also be humble to others.

This is why I wish you to apply yourself with all diligence to this examen. What conception and esteem have you of the virtue of humility? Do you really believe that humility of heart is necessary for your eternal salvation? You know that it is necessary to believe firmly in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and that whoever doubts it is a heretic; but you must know that it is also necessary to believe with equal firmness the doctrine of humility taught by Jesus Christ in His gospel, because we cannot affirm that in the gospel one doctrine is more true than another, nor that one must believe one more than another, because they all proceed equally from the mouth of Jesus Christ, Who is the very Truth.

If therefore you believe in this dogma of humility, how do you apply it to yourself, and what measures do you take in order to be humble? Do you ask it of God? Do you have recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints? Do you make yourself familiar with those thoughts which are most efficacious to teach you this humility-----the thoughts of death, judgement, Hell, Paradise and eternity, the grievousness of sin and, above all, the Passion of Jesus Christ?

I am, perfectly certain that you will never attain to this humility if you neglect these means which are the most appropriate by which to acquire it; and if you have not been humble of heart, how can you ever justify yourself before the tribunal of God?

Impress upon your mind this beautiful passage which St. Augustine left to his friend Dioscurus: "Do not depart, O Dioscurus, from the royal way of humility which was taught by Christ; although many other virtues are commanded by the Christian religion, study to give humility the highest place, because all virtues are acquired and maintained by humility, and without humility they vanish away."  [Epist. cxiii]

Moral Doctrine
On the Vice of Pride, and the Best Use to be Made of the Practical Examen
Part 1

[2a 2æ, qu. clxii, art. 1] defines pride as an inordinate affection against right reason, by which man esteems himself and desires to be esteemed by others above that which he really is; and as this affection is opposed to right reasoning, it is certainly a sin which partakes of the gravity of a mortal sin, because it is in direct opposition to the virtue of humility, and Saint Paul puts the proud in the same category as those whom "God delivered up to a reprobate sense and are worthy of death," [Rom. i, 28, 32] although sometimes it is only a venial sin, when the reason is not sufficiently enlightened or there is not full consent of the will. [D. Th., loc. cit., art 5]

137. Pride is placed among the deadly sins, because it is from pride that so many other sins are derived, and that is why St. Paul, seeing the innumerable wickednesses of the world, called them to the notice of his disciple Timothy, saying: "Look how many are haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,"
[Tim. iii, 2] without love for their neighbour or for God. From whence do you suppose all these vices derive their origin? This is the source: the inordinate love which everyone has for himself. "Men are lovers of themselves." This is the explanation which St. Paul gives to it, and as St. Augustine observes, "All these evils flow from the source which he first mentions-----self-love," [tr. 123 in Jo. lib. iv, De Civ. Dei, c. xiii] and as the same Saint says, "This excess of self-love is only pride."

Therefore we can conclude from this that whoever overcomes pride overcomes a whole host of sins; according to the explanation given by St. Gregory 
[Lib. 31, Mor. c. xvii] of this text of Job: "He smelleth the battle afar off, and the shouting of the army." [Job xxxix, 25]

138. Pride holds the first place among the deadly sins, and St. Thomas not only places it amongst the deadly sins, but above them, as transcending them all, the king of vices which includes in his cortège all the other vices, therefore it is called in Holy Scripture: "The root of all evil," [Tim. vi, 10] "The beginning of all sin." [Ecclus x, 15] because as the root of the tree is hidden under the earth and sends all its strength up into the branches, so pride remains hidden in the heart and secretly influences every sin through its action. Therefore whenever we commit a mortal sin, we are in reality opposing and directing our own will against the will of God.

Job speaks thus of the sinner: "He hath strengthened himself against the Almighty," [
Job xv, 25] and in this sense one can also say of pride that it is the greatest of all sins, because the proud rebel against God, setting themselves in opposition to God, nor do they mind displeasing God in order to pleasE themselves, leaving the All to attach themselves to their own nothingness, as St. Augustine says: "Abandoning God, he seeks his own will, and by so doing draws near to nothingness, hence the proud according to Scripture are called doers of their own will," [Lib. IV, De Civ. Dei, cap. xiv] which is to say with St. Paul: "Lovers of themselves." And the same holy father makes this reflection, that even venial sins committed more from frailty than from malice may become mortal if they are aggravated by pride. "Sins creep in through human weakness, and although small they become great and heavy if pride adds to their weight and measure." [Lib. de Sancta Virginit. cap. ii]

But since God has sworn to detect this vice: "The Lord God hath sworn by His Own Soul, I detest the pride of Jacob," [Amos vi, 8] what wonder is it that He should punish it more than all vices? St. Augustine remarks with singular force that amongst all the sins by which sinners fall, none is so great, so ruinous, or so grave as that of pride. "Amongst all the falls of sinners none is so great as that of the proud." [Ps. xxxv]
139. Let us now consider wherein lies the terrible danger of this vice. (1) Because while all other vices destroy only their opposite virtues, as wantonness destroys chastity, greediness temperance, and anger gentleness, etc., pride destroys all virtue, and is according to St. Gregory like a cancer which not only eats away one limb but attacks the whole body: "Like a widespread pestilential disease."
[lib. xxxiv, Mor., cap. 18]

(2) Because the other vices are to be feared only when we are disposed to evil; but pride, says St. Augustine, insinuates itself even when we are trying to do good. "Other vices are to be feared in sins, pride is to be feared even in good deeds." [Epist. cxviii] And Saint Isidore says: "Pride is worse than every other vice from the fact that it springs even from virtue and its guilt is less felt." [Lib. de Summ. Bono]

(3) Because after having fought against and overcome the other vices we may justly rejoice, but as soon as we begin to rejoice that we have triumphed over pride it triumphs over us, and becomes victorious over us in that very act for which we are praising ourselves for conquering it. St. Augustine says: "When a man rejoices that he has overcome pride, he lifts up his head for very joy and says: Behold, I triumph thus because thou triumphest."
[Aug., Lib. de Nat. et Gr. cap. xxvii]

(4) Because if the other vices are of quick growth, we can also rid ourselves of them quickly; but pride is the first vice we learn, and it is also the last to leave us as St. Augustine says: [Enarr. 2 in Ps. cxviii] "For those who are returning to God, pride is the last thing to be overcome, as it was the first cause of their leaving God."

(5) Because as we have need of some special grace of God in order to enable us to do any of those good works that pertain to our eternal salvation, so there is no vice which prevents the influx of grace so much as pride; because "God resists the proud."
[James iv, 6]

(6) Because pride is the characteristic and most significant sign of the reprobate, as St. Gregory says: "Pride is the most manifest sign of the lost." [Lib. 34. Mor. cxviii]

(7) Because the other vices are easily recognizable, and therefore it is easy to hate them and to amend; but pride is a vice that is not so easily known because it goes masked and disguised in many forms, even putting on the semblance of virtue and the very appearance of humility; thus being a hidden vice it is less easy to escape from it, as is taught in the maxim of St. Ambrose: [Epist. 82] "Hidden things are more difficult to avoid than things known."

140. This last danger is for us the greatest of all, and all the more because we ourselves seem to co-operate so as not to recognize this vice, inventing titles, colours, artifices to conceal its ugliness, and studying innumerable pretexts in order to deceive ourselves into believing that pride is not pride, and does not reign in our heart at the very moment when it is more dominant than ever.

As humility is generally called weak and contemptible by the blind lovers of this world, so pride is called courage and greatness, and the proud are said to be spirited, dignified, of noble behaviour and good judgment, sustaining their position with honour, maintaining their reputation, keeping up their rank and fulfilling the duties of their state. What a vocabulary of vanity! But let us set against it the vocabulary of truth which was used by Job: "I have said to rottenness, Thou art my father; to worms, my mother and my sister."
[Job xvii, 4]

If you sift these worldly expressions, you will find that the quintessence of a most consummate pride issues therefrom. This is indeed the only thing I ask of you, that if you have unfortunately been deceived by others, you will at least not deceive yourselves. Study to know your own ills, if you wish to be cured of them. I recommend you only to apply yourselves to learn the truth and profit by this advice, that if the knowledge of this truth seems difficult to you, it is a sign that you are proud.

It is St. Thomas himself who will convince you of this. You can learn truth in two ways, that is by the intellect and by the affections. The proud man does not know it by his intellect, because God hides it from him, as Christ said: "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent";
[Matt. xi, 25] and still less will he know it with his affection, because no one who takes pleasure in vanity can take pleasure in truth. "When the proud delight in their own excellence," explains St. Augustine, "they recede from the excellence of truth." [D. Th. 2a 2æ, qu. clxii, art. 3]

 The proud man does not take any pleasure in sermons, meditations, instructions concerning eternal truth, in fact they are wearisome to him. If you discover any signs of this in yourself, you must at once conclude that you are proud, and humble yourself a little, O you who read this doctrine, in order that the eternal Father of all light may give you light even as Christ said: "I confess to Thee, O Father, Who hast revealed them to little ones." [Matt. xi, 25]

141. St. Gregory and St. Thomas teach that one can sin in four different ways by one's own acts of pride. The first is when we hold that we have any good, either bodily or spiritual, of ourselves, and glory in it as really belonging to us without thinking of God Who is the giver of all good gifts. It is with this pride that Arfaxad, King of the Medes, sinned when he gloried in the power of his enormous army; and King Nabuchodonosor sinned likewise when he boasted of the building of Babylon: "Is not this the great Babylon which I have built by the strength of my power?" [Dan. iv, 27] In the same way the rich man, mentioned in St. Luke, sinned when he took such pleasure in his riches and regarded them as his own substance, saying: "I will gather all things, and will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." [Luke xii, 18, 19] And, therefore, we may say that it is through this pride that all sin who flatter themselves and are ostentatious, glorifying themselves either for their great talents, or for their riches, or their prudence, or their eloquence, or the beauty of their body, or the costliness of their apparel, as if God had nothing to do with it, and who, esteeming themselves immoderately, desire also to be esteemed by others.

This is true pride, because if God had given all these good things for our use, He has reserved the glory of them for Himself. "To God alone be glory and honour," [1 Tim. i, 17] and whoever usurps this glory is guilty of pride.

And therefore we must observe with Saint Thomas that in order to commit a sin of pride it is not necessary to declare positively that these gifts do not come from God, for this would be a sin of infidelity, but it is enough that we should glory in them as if they belonged to us, "which relates to pride."
[2a 2æ, qu. clxii]

142. The second way in which we can sin in our actions by pride is when, knowing and admitting that we have received such and such a gift of God, we nevertheless attribute it inwardly to our own merit and desire that others should do so likewise, and in our exterior demeanour we behave as if we had indeed deserved to receive these gifts. It was thus that Lucifer sinned through pride; for being infatuated with his own beauty and nobility, and although he recognized that God was the author of it all, he nevertheless had the presumption to think that he had merited it himself and was worthy to sit beside God in the highest Heaven, "I will ascend into Heaven."  [Isai. xiv, 13]

Moral Doctrine
On the Vice of Pride, and the Best Use to be Made of the Practical Examen
Part 2

And, therefore, St. Bernard reproves him, saying: "O proud soul, what work hast thou done that thou shouldst take thy rest?" What hast thou done, O bold one, to deserve such an honour? And it is thus that those reprobates sinned through pride to whom allusion is made in Luke xvii, 9, who, like the Pharisee, gave thanks to God for the good they did and the evil they left undone: "O God, I give Thee thanks," etc.; but yet, at the same time, they had the presumption to consider themselves of singular merit, "trusting in themselves."

Thus all those who sin by presuming that they have deserved any good whatsoever of God are convicted of pride, because by attesting to their own merit they make God a debtor of this grace, which would no longer be grace if we had deserved it. We may well be permitted, with Job, to say that by our sins we have deserved God's anger and every kind of evil: "Oh, that my sins, whereby I have deserved wrath, were weighed in a balance" [Job vi, 2] but we cannot say that we deserve grace or any good, as St. Paul says: "If by grace it is not now by works, otherwise grace is no more grace."

And each one of us should say with the same humble St. Paul, "By the grace of God I am what I am." [
1 Cor. xv, 10] If I am rich, noble, sane, or possess any other gifts, it all comes from God who has made me thus, not because of my own merits, but solely through His Own mercy and goodness. Whether I abstain from evil or whether I do good, I owe it all not to my own merit, but to the grace of God Who assists me with His mercy; "By the grace of God I am what I am." And anyone who ascribes what he is or what he has to his own merits, is guilty of pride, and appropriates to himself what he ought to give to the mercy and grace of God. Therefore holy Church wisely ends her prayers with these words: "Through Jesus Christ our Lord," etc. And by this we protest to the Divine Majesty that we ask the gifts mentioned in those prayers through the merits of Jesus Christ, and that, if our prayers are heard, it will only be through the merits of Jesus Christ.

This is a point which is worthy of all attention so that we may not fall through inadvertence into most terrible pride. And St. Augustine urges us to remember that not only all the good we have comes from God, but also that we have it only through His mercy and not through our own merits. "When a man sees that whatever good he has is from the mercy of God and not from his own merits, he ceases to be proud." [
In Ps. lxxxiv]

143. The third way in which we can sin through pride is when we attribute to ourselves some good-----of any kind whatsoever-----which we do not really possess, but whether it be that we esteem ourselves for that imaginary good which exists only in our thoughts, and desire others to esteem us for it also, or whether we really possess it, or whether again we only desire to have this good which we have not in order to be able to boast of it and glory in it, all this is detestable pride.

It was in this way that the Bishop of Laodicea sinned by esteeming himself rich in merit when he was merely contemptible; and therefore God told him that he would vomit him out of His mouth. "I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth, because thou sayest, I am rich and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art miserable and poor." [
Apoc. iii, 16, 17] And it is with this kind of pride that all sin who either esteem themselves or who seek to be esteemed by others in word or deed for more riches, knowledge, rank or virtue than they really have.

It may be an act of virtue to desire these things for some honourable end, for instance to desire more knowledge in order to be able to serve holy Church, to desire riches in order to be able to give more alms; but to desire these things in order not to seem inferior to others or to acquire more esteem, is only pride, and oh, how few there are who are not infected with this pride! One for one thing, and one for another, almost all men seek to be esteemed above what they really are-----and this without the slightest scruple.

Sometimes it may be that the sin is not so grave, either because this is not a deliberate wish, or else because the nature of the offense is very slight; but on the other hand it is in itself always a very grave sin, because through this pride man no longer remains subject to that rule which has been given him by God
-----to be contented in his own state. St. Thomas says: "This is evidently of the nature of mortal sin," [2a 2æ, qu. clxii, art. 5 et 6] and his doctrine on this point is that the greater the gift may be in which we glory, although we do not possess it, the greater is our pride. Therefore it is worse to affect to be holy than to affect to be noble or rich, because sanctity is a greater gift than rank or wealth. And the habit of excusing the sins we have committed also belongs to this kind of pride, because when we excuse ourselves and say that we are not guilty, we assert our innocence and accredit ourselves with an innocence which we do not possess. And how often do we sin thus through pride without even knowing it!

And St. Thomas also attributes to pride the endeavour to conceal our sins and so excuse and palliate the wickedness thereof in our confessions. [Ibid. art. 4]

144. The fourth way in which we sin through pride is when we use any gift we may possess in order to appear distinguished or to think ourselves better than others, and to be more esteemed and honoured than they. Whatever good we have, whether of body or soul, of nature, fortune or grace, is a gift of God, and to use these gifts in order to try and be more conspicuous than others is pride.

It is with this pride that the Pharisee in the Temple regarded his own goodness, and placed himself above others, especially the publican. "I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican." [Luke xviii, 11] He esteemed himself above all, and was in reality the proudest of all. It was with this pride, too, that the disciples sinned when they glorified in their singular gift of being able to cast out devils: "And they returned with joy, saying: 'Lord, the devils also are subject to us,' " [Luke x, 17] and our blessed Lord answered them most justly: "I saw Satan like lightning falling from Heaven," as if He almost meant to say "Take care that you do not exalt yourself like the proud Lucifer, lest you fall as he did."

St. Gregory in fact makes this reflection that there is no pride which resembles the diabolical pride so much as this: This comes. very near to a diabolical likeness."
[Lib. 23. Mor. cap. iv] Whoever wishes to exalt himself above others imitates Lucifer who desired to be first among the Angels and nearest to the throne of God. This was the sin of Lucifer when he dwelt upon his desire to be exalted: "And thou saidest in thy heart, I will ascend." [Isai. xiv, 13] And those who are always scheming for their own advancement, and are discontented with their own state sin even as Lucifer sinned: "I will ascend"; and we ought to guard against this diabolical sin, as St. Paul says: "Lest being puffed up with pride we fall into the judgment of the devil." [1 Tim. iii, 6]
And, moreover, we ought also to observe what the same holy pontiff tells us, that we often fall into this the worst kind of pride: "Into this fourth kind of pride the human mind falls very frequently"; and there is no doubt that it is really a grievous sin, for we thereby offend both God and our neighbour. And how many men and women there are, both religious and secular, of every state and condition, who commit this sin of pride so frequently that it becomes a predominant habit with them.

Practically we notice that all men desire to be distinguished in their own particular art, however inferior it may be, and all seek first to be esteemed as much as others, and then to be distinguished more than others-----" I will ascend," each one in his own sphere and also outside his own sphere. The rich man regards himself as greater than the learned man on account of his riches; the learned man as greater than the rich man on account of his learning; the chaste man esteems himself better than the one who gives alms, and the one who gives alms esteems himself more highly than the man who is chaste. Oh, what pride!
-----and yet few people are willing to recognize that they are

145. The holy pope St. Gregory discerns pride in all kinds of people and describes its characteristics. Some, he says, are proud of their possessions, others of their eloquence, some are proud of mundane things and some of things of the Church and the gifts of God, although blinded by vanity we are unable to discern it; and whether we exalt ourselves above others on account of worldly glory, or of spiritual gifts, pride has never left our heart because it is domiciled there, and, to disguise itself: assumes a false appearance.

It is also well to know that pride does not tempt superiors and inferiors in the same way.

It tempts the great, by giving them to understand that they have attained to their position by their own merit, and that none of their inferiors could be compared with them; it tempts their subordinates, by diverting their attention from their own faults and making them observe and judge the doings of their superiors; they speak nevertheless of and to their superiors with a certain liberty, and as this pride is called a rightful independence in them, so in the superior it is called zeal and decorum.

Sometimes our pride constrains us to talk loud, at other times to preserve a bitter silence. Pride is dissolute in its joys, sombre and raving in its melancholy; it seems honourable in appearance, yet is without honour; it is full of valour in giving offense, but cowardly in taking it; it is slow to obey, importunate in its demands to ascertain its duty, but negligent in performing it; while it is prompt to meddle and interfere in all that does not concern it, there is no possibility of bending it in any direction unless it is inclined thereto by its own taste; and it is astute, and pretends to be indifferent about having any office or dignity which it covets, so that it may be forced into accepting them, loving to have those things which it most desires thrust violently upon it for fear it should be regarded with contempt if its desire for them were made known. This is all St. Gregory's teaching.

146. After considering pride in itself, it remains for us to observe its effects, and especially eight of the more common and familiar vices which it produces, which are presumption, ambition, envy, vainglory, boastfulness, hypocrisy, disobedience and discord. Let us examine them with St. Thomas.

Presumption is a vice by which we esteem ourselves able to achieve things beyond our strength, forgetful of the necessity of Divine help. The sinner is guilty of presumption when he believes that he can be converted to God whenever he likes and chooses, as if conversion were the work of his own free-will alone, and living ill yet trusts to make a good death; when he sins and goes on sinning, relying upon obtaining ultimate forgiveness; when he believes that he can of himself, and without the help of grace, both withstand temptation, avoid sin and observe the commandments of God, or else that he can make some supernatural act of faith, hope, charity or contrition, or perform some meritorious act towards his eternal welfare and save himself by persevering in well-doing.

All this is beyond our own strength, and to think that we can do these things without the special help of God, and without being willing to ask this help of God, is a sin of presumption-----a grave sin of that pride by which we believe that we possess a virtue when we have it not: "O wicked presumption," says Holy Writ, "whence camest thou?"
[Ecclus. xxxvii, 3] And Saint Gregory, explaining what that sin was which Job called "great iniquity," [Job cxxxi, 28] affirmed that it was presumption, which is an insult to the author of all grace, "by which a man takes all the credit of a good work to himself." [Lib. xxii, Mor., cap. x]

Moral Doctrine
On the Vice of Pride, and the Best Use to be Made of the Practical Examen
Part 3

147. Ambition is a vice which makes us seek our own honour with inordinate avidity. [St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, qu. cxxxi, art. 2] Now, as this honour is a mark of respect and esteem, given to meritorious virtue, and to him who is of superior degree, and as it is certain that we have no merit of ourselves, because everything we receive comes from God, it is not to ourselves, but to God alone that such honour is wholly due.

Moreover, as this honour has been ordained by God as a means to render us capable of helping our neighbour, it is certain that all such honour must be used by us in fulfillment of this end. Two things therefore are needful to enable us to flee from ambition. The first is that we should not appropriate merit of the honour, and the second is that we should confess that this same honour is due wholly to God, and is only dear to us in so far as it can serve our neighb
our. If therefore we are wanting in one of these two things, we commit the sin of ambition. He is ambitious therefore who seeks to have some office or position, whether in the world or in the Church, when he has not the requisite virtue and knowledge to maintain it, and who schemes and plots to be put before others who are more worthy than he.

He is ambitious who desires to be esteemed, honoured and revered more than his position merits, and as if he were of higher rank than he is, to be honoured as an eloquent preacher or as a clever writer, or in any profession to which he may belong, although in reality he can only be classed amongst the indifferent and mediocre.

He is ambitious who, without a single thought for the glory of God, or of serving his neighbour, desires or seeks some worldly or ecclesiastical office, simply with a view to his own temporal welfare and for the advancement of his family, or wishes to gain the honour of some high office or bishopric, "from the love of power," as St. Augustine says, "and from pride of place."
[Lib. xix, De Civ. Dei., cap. xiv]

Jesus Christ shows a special hatred for this vice in several places in His gospel, [Matt. xviii, 20, 23; Luke ix, 12] and the Fathers argue from this that the ambitious man is in a state of mortal sin; and it is easy for the most spiritual persons to commit this sin, as St. Ambrose says: "Ambition often makes criminals of those whom no vice would delight, whom no lust could move, whom no avarice could deceive." [Lib. 4 in Luc.]

The worst of ambition is that few people have any scruples about it, and the reason is that by this vice conscience is depraved, because it is united to this passion and seldom recovers its integrity. [St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, qu. cxxxi, art. 1 et 2; qu. clxxxv, art. 2]

148. Envy is a sadness arising from the contemplation of our neighbour's welfare, when we imagine that the good which happens to him must be to our own detriment, prejudicial to our own glory and interest; but of his goods we only envy those which bring us esteem in the eyes of the world-----riches, dignity, the friendship and favours of the great, science, praise, fame, and all that which seems to us to contribute to our credit and to bring us honour.

And it is thus that envy is born within us, when we see one who is richer, more learned than we are, another wiser and more virtuous than we, another who has more talent and ability, and whom therefore we should like to see deprived of these gifts in order that he might also
be deprived of the praise and honour and any other advantages which we imagine are more due to us than to him. Now the sin consists in this: that when we ought, from a sense of charity, to rejoice at our neighbour's prosperity, we are only saddened at it, wishing in our pride that it. might be ours, in order that we might be superior to our neighbour in merit; and this sin is the especial sin of the devil, as the Wise Man says, "the envy of the devil," [Wisd. ii, 24] and therefore the Holy Ghost most justly commands us through St. Paul to guard against it: "Let us not be envying one another," [Gal. v, 26] as it is easy to sin mortally in one way or another. But nevertheless, how common this vice is in families, in communities, in every state of life, to high and low, rich and poor, to seculars and even to the Religious themselves!

All this evil proceeds from a false conscience, which leads us to believe that envy is not a great sin, and therefore, although it be a grievous evil, it is neither feared, nor avoided, nor do we study to amend ourselves of it. This reflection is from St. Cyprian: "Envy seems a small offense, so that, whilst it seems slight to us, it is not feared; whilst it is not feared, it is despised; whilst it is despised, it is not easily avoided, and thus becomes a secret source of ruin." [See
[St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, qu. xxxiv, art. 6; et qu. xvi, art. 1 et 2 etc.; et qu. clviii, art. 11 et 14]

149. Vainglory consists in an inordinate appetite for praise, and a desire that our merit should shine forth with glory, and in three different ways this glory can be called vain and wicked.

Firstly, when we seek to be praised for a virtue or any other gift of body or soul which we do not possess, or else to be praised for some frail transitory possession which is not worthy of praise, such as health, beauty and other gifts of the body, riches, pomp and other goods which are called the gifts of fortune.

Secondly, when in seeking praise we value the esteem and approbation of one whose judgment is unreliable.

Thirdly, when we do not use this praise either for the honour of God or the good of our neighbour, and this is always to sin against the dictates of holy Scripture: "Let us not be made desirous of vainglory"; [Phil. ii, 3] and it can be a mortal sin when we seek to be praised for some wrong which we have done or have the intention of doing, or for some other wrong which we have never done and have had no thought of doing, or else to accept praise for a good which we have not done and which we want to make others believe that we have done; it can also be a mortal sin if we do good only out of human respect with the intention of being seen and praised.

This is, in short, always a very dangerous sin, not so much because of its gravity as on account of its grave consequence and because it prevents the soul from receiving the help of grace, and disposes it to various mortal sins: "Vainglory is said to be a dangerous sin, not so much on account of its gravity, as because it is a disposition to grievous sins in so far as it gradually disposes a man to the loss of all inner good."
[D. Th. 2a 2æ, qu. cxxxii, art. 3]

He who suffers from vainglory is in danger of losing his faith also, according to the saying of Christ: "How can you believe who receive glory one from another?" [John v, 44] St. Augustine reflecting upon this, and how little this great evil is known, affirms that none is wiser than he who knows that this love of praise is a vice: "He sees best who sees that love of praise is a vice."
[Lib. 5, De Civ. Dei., cap xiii. See also St. Thomas 2a 2æ, qu. xxi, art. 4; et qu cccv, art. 1; et qu. cxxxi, per tot.; et qu. clxxviii, art. 2]

150. Boastfulness is a vice by which man, desiring to be supremely honoured above all others, begins to praise and exalt himself, exaggerating and amplifying things so as to make his own merit appear greater than it is. It is also
called ostentation, self-praise or forwardness; and St. Augustine calls it "The worst of all pests";
[Lib. 1 De Ord. cap. xi] and St. Ambrose calls it a net spread by the devil to catch the strongest and most spiritual: "The devil lays snares such as entrap the strongest"; [Lib. in Luc.] and this is a vice which is beyond measure, because in vaunting ourselves for that which we have not, we lie to our own conscience and to God; and as God said of Moab by the prophet: "He is exceeding proud; I know his boasting, and that the strength thereof is not according to it." [Jer. xlviii, 29, 30]

It can be a mortal sin when we boast of some sin which we have committed; when we praise ourselves, despising others; or else when we praise and exalt ourselves through an excess of pride which abounds in the heart.

The Angelical Doctor notes that this is an ordinary and not an infrequent case, and that the habit is easily formed.
[2a 2æ, qu. lxii, art. 1. See also 2a 2æ, qu. cx, art. 2; qu. cxii, art. 1; et qu. cxxxii, art. 5 ad 1; et qu. clxii, art. 4 ad 2]

151I. Hypocrisy is a vice by which we affect to demonstrate externally a virtue and a sanctity which we do not possess; and he is really a hypocrite who, being full of wickedness within, pretends in his outward appearance to be good.

There is no vice against which Jesus Christ has inveighed so much in His Gospel as against this one [Matt. vi, 7, 15, 21], condemning it with eight cries of "Woe unto you," which are eight maledictions. And St. Gregory remarks that the hypocrites, blinded by pride and hardened in their sins, generally die impenitent without ever being enlightened, for a reason which is perhaps taken from St. Peter Chrysologus, because while we can see that the remedies to the amendment of other vices do good, the disease of hypocrisy is so pestilential that it affects the very remedies themselves, so that they only serve to foment and increase the evil. "Brethren," says the Saint, "this pestilence must be avoided that turns remedies into diseases, medicines into maladies, holiness into vice, saintliness into sinfulness."

Hypocrisy is always a mortal sin when we pretend to be spiritual and holy, and try to appear as such, when we are not so at heart, caring more for the opinion of men than for the opinion of God; and it is worse still when we affect sanctity in order to further our own advancement and to acquire credit in order to reach and to work evil; or else to obtain some honour, or other temporal good.

In this way also we sin gravely by hypocrisy when we show ourselves scrupulous about works of supererogation or in certain minute observances, not fearing at the same time to transgress against the essential duties of religion and our own state of life, "having left the weightier things of the law," like those Scribes and Pharisees whom Christ reproved, saying that they "strain a gnat and swallow a camel." [Matt. xxiii, 24]

Also when in all the functions connected with the service of God we pretend to have a pure intention when we have it not: "And seek to please not God but men, not the conversion but the favour of the people."
[D. Th. 2a 2æ, qu. lxi, art. 2]

The fathers generally call hypocrisy perversity, iniquity, impiety; and it is easy not only to fall into this sin, but to become so accustomed to it that it leads us into atheism. We often begin by serving God with a certain degree of holy fervour, but when this diminishes, we no longer serve God but only pretend to serve Him in order to keep up outward appearances. "Woe unto you hypocrites!" [See St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, qu. xi, per tot.]

152. Disobedience is a sin by which we violate the command of our superiors, treating them with contempt, and it can be a mortal sin even in small matters; because, as St. Bernard says, we must not consider the nature of the thing commanded nor the simple transgression of the precept, but the pride of the will which will not submit when it ought. [Lib. de Præcept et Dispens., cap xi] "It is not the simple transgression of the wish but the proud contention of the will that creates criminal disobedience," and the grievousness of the sin can be judged under three different heads.

First, the rank of the superior, because the higher the one who commands, the more grave is the disobedience. It is a greater sin to disobey God than to disobey man, a greater sin to disobey the pope than a bishop, or a father and mother than other relations; and it is also a greater sin to disobey with contempt of the person who commands, than with contempt only of the commandment.

Secondly, in respect of the nature of the things commanded, because when these are of greater importance, especially in the laws of God, the disobedience is greater, therefore it is a graver sin to disobey those precepts which enjoin the love of God than those which command us to love our neighbour.

Thirdly, in respect of the form of the command, by which the superior expresses his intention
that he wishes to be obeyed in such and such a matter, but it is principally pride that aggravates the disobedience, as the will refuses to submit as it should to Divine law. [St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, qu. lxix, art. 1; et qu. cv per tot.]
153. Discord is a discrepancy of the will which prevents it from conforming to the will of God in such matters as it ought to conform for the glory of God and the good of the neighbour; and it is a grave sin, because St. Paul counts dissensions among those sins which exclude those who commit them from the kingdom of Heaven. [Gal. v, 20] And God declares His hatred and abhorrence of all those that disseminate discord among their neighbours. [Prov. vi, 9] Dissensions arise generally from pride, which prompts us to over-esteem ourselves and to set our own welfare and opinions against those of others, and from this arises the quarreling, litigation, obstinacy, slandering, faction, hatred, strife and many other evils without number and without end.
[St. Thomas 22, qu. xxxvii, art. 1 et 2; et qu. xxxviii, art. 2; et qu. cxxxii, art. 5]

Recollect yourself now interiorly, and examine yourself, and having found that under one or other of these headings pride really dominates you, judge how necessary it is for you to fight against it with humility, because if pride is conquered, a host of other sins will be conquered also. And in order to give yourself courage remember this, that before the tribunal of God the proud will be condemned, and only the humble can hope to find mercy. To say that we are humble is the same as to say that we are amongst the elect and shall be saved; and to say that we are proud is the same as to say we are reprobate and lost. "Pride is a sure sign of the reprobate, as humility is the sign of the elect." [Hom. 7 in Evang.; et lib. 3, Mor. cap xviii] We owe this conclusion to St. Gregory.

Praised be Jesus Christ.