Saturday, March 24, 2018

Did God die?

Caravaggio - La Deposizione di Cristo.jpgThis is a question on Jesus I always ask my Theology class every semester, and I am invariably met with stunned silence. After some thought, many say God didn’t die.

The question is Christological, an analysis of Jesus, God made man, and obviously does not refer to Nietzche’s death of God, a nineteenth century fake news whose opposite happened given the empirical vitality of religion. 

Nor is this about extinguishing divinity. An oxymoron. For if God exists, he gives existence to everything. And he who is Existence cannot vanish.  

When Jesus died, did God die? This is a more precise rendering of this crucial question, which for a Christian there can’t be room for doubt. For it is at the heart of what Pope Benedict XVI calls the essential message of the great teaching of our time, the Second Vatican Council: The center of the Christian life and of the Christian year is the Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ death and rising.

To answer the question, another one helps: Is Mary the mother of God? Catholics, routinely or with piety, pray, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners!” Bible Christians know that the Bible refers to her as “the mother my Lord”, and Lord (Adonai) means God.  

But can a creature be the mother of God, her Creator? The theologian, Frank Sheed, explained it commonsensically: Mary was not simply the mother of Jesus’ human nature, but of himself--as my mother is not the mother of my nature but of me.
Here we see a first glimpse of the mystery. There is a distinction between himself and Jesus’ nature. Mary is the mother of “himself” not just of his “nature”.  

If we think deeply enough, we realize that our soul, our spirit, could not have come from our mother, for the biological powers of human sex can’t create a superior: an immortal spirit. But yes, it is true that the lady who gave birth to us, even if only our body comes from her, is our mother. Even if our soul was created directly by God, we –our persons—started out in her womb.

The answer to the question then comes from understanding the distinction of two key metaphysical truths: nature and person, “what” I am versus “who” I am. When asked “what” I am, I reply, “I am a man—not an angel, not God, not an animal.” Man, angel, God, and animal are different “whats”, natures or modes of being. But the word “I” refers to a person: my self.

This hard fact called “person” is something people nowadays hardly appreciate. Because of positivism, a nineteenth fad that self-amputates the mind, the world only sees the legal person: the entity given rights by society. And if society today does not want to give the person rights, even if he is an immortal spirit, he is a non-entity. He can be killed in his mother’s womb.

Phones, cars and stars follow the law of entropy and will fall away. But not persons.  A human, an angel and God are persons. Each one of these beings --with different natures-- is not something but someone: a self, a conscious ego, an indestructible “I”.
And Jesus, the man-God, is also a person. An “I” who can act in two natures. His death as man, the same one we will experience, is by definition a separation of body and soul. And so, on the cross, did only a man die?  

The Bible clearly states that for sinners, “Christ died”. And so the Creed traces the story of “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, for whom all things were made.” Then straightaway declares: “For us men and for our salvation, he (the same God)...became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death...”

Surely, it was not Jesus’ divine nature that perished, for it is eternal.  But yes, “he”, the divine person, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the unique “I” of God the Son, endured bloody, agonizing torture and gave up his human life.  He said: “I” lay down my life for my sheep.

What do we take from this? The grandeur of God who lavishes himself for sinners, but also the grandeur of each human, of our persons, for whom God died.

Dr. Raul Nidoy is Director of Personal Formation at Parents for Education Foundation (PAREF) which is publishing "Jesus-Centered: Best Prayers for Christians and their Families"

Sunday, March 4, 2018

If we want school shootings, break up the family

Image result for school shootingWe’ve seen them on TV and videos. We have seen the anguish, anger, and unbearable fear of young people who survived.  One survivor who was being interviewed, just faltered: “I can’t do it, I’m sorry, I can’t,” and he choked and walked away.

Entering the feelings of the children who were inside one of those classrooms should help us think seriously, and make the decision that we do not want any of those elements that have led to this hellish state in the most influential nation in the world.

And so it should lead us to research with our most non-prejudiced minds on why this happens, so we will prevent the contagion from reaching our shores.  A father of a daughter who is threatened by a deadly disease will not sit back nonchalant, but will be driven to stop the problem. And he will not just be driven, he will find out the most reliable expert advice on the matter.

The truth is: the most eminent experts who have devoted their lives to study crime have already spoken. But the jaundiced Western media and politicians have long been held captive by their ideologies they can’t look straight at the elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room in crime has been declared by eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi who have written “A General Theory of Crime” published by Stanford University Press, a testable theory that has been confirmed by several empirical studies. The elephant was clearly spotted by Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, who was Chair of its Department of Sociology, and President of the American Society of Criminology. 

All of them declared that family dysfunction is among the most powerful predictors of crime.  Gottfredson and Hirschi concluded that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”

Harvard’s Sampson even stressed: “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” (bold font added)

Study after study have only strengthened the parent factor and self-control theory of Gottfriedson and Hirschi.  One is that of Carter Hay, Parenting, Self-Control and Deviancy and the other that of Vaszonyi and Belliston, which is a cross-cultural and cross-national test of self-control theory, particularly the family dysfunction factor.

And the data is not just for crime in general, but for school shooting specifically. In a website dedicated to school shooting, Dr. Peter Langman debunks a myth (probably perpetrated by anti-family advocates) that school shooters come from stable homes. He showed that in one sample covering both the US and non-US countries, 82% of the shooters were from broken families, while 18% from intact families.

MercatorNet which has been following the background of killers in mass shootings has seen that "almost all school shooters come from families where the parents are either divorced or alienated."

Surely, all this research bears out common sense. We know what havoc family break ups create. What trauma is created in the vulnerable psyche of young children. What overturning of values happens when your own parents, the ones who are supposed to teach you self-mastery, self-sacrificing commitment, forgiveness, forbearance and fidelity teach you the opposite with their actions.

And some of our nation’s legislators who want divorce in this country are so taken by the wealth of the West that they are oblivious of the anguish their children face every day in the schools that are supposed to be havens of serenity and joy.

Our legislators should listen to the wisdom of Michael Cook of MercatorNet when he advises the Western nations: "perhaps they wouldn’t need more gun control if they had better divorce control.”

And if our lawmakers truly want to serve the country and become the greatest of statesmen, they should pass laws to strengthen the family, such as a serious marriage preparation program that will enable couples to discern their decision, learn to effectively communicate and understand each other's gender idiosyncracies, and develop the mega-skills of emotional intelligence such as patience and forgiveness. 

The positive step of strengthening rather than weakening the Filipino family which is known worldwide as one of our greatest strengths, follows the wise management principle of Peter Drucker, an unparalleled management guru: build on strength. 

Read also: In-depth study: After divorce, 44% of women fell into poverty

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Prayers for the Family

Unless we bring back prayer and love into the family we will never have peace. -- St. Mother Teresa

Liturgical Prayer on the Feast of the Holy Family
O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Prayer to the Holy Family by Pope Francis
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love;
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience
violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer.

Prayer for the Family of St. Pope John Paul II
Lord God, from you every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  Father, you are love and life.  Through your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love.  Grant that your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families in the world.  Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love.  Grant that love, strengthened by the Sacrament of marriage, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in and through the family.  Through Christ our Lord, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life for ever and ever.  Amen.  

Open the heart of every family to the faith by St. Pope John Paul II
O Holy Family of Nazareth, community of love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, model and ideal of every Christian family, to you we entrust our families.
Open the heart of every family to the faith, to welcoming the word of God, to Christian witness, so that it becomes a source of new and holy vocations.
Touch the hearts of parents, so that with prompt charity, wise care, and loving devotion they are sure guides for their sons and daughters towards spiritual and eternal values.
Stir up in the hearts of young people a right conscience and a free will, so that growing in "wisdom, age and grace", they might welcome generously the gift of a divine vocation.
Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that all of us, contemplating and imitating the assiduous prayer, generous obedience, dignified poverty and virginal purity lived out in your midst, might set about fulfilling the will of God and accompanying with far-sighted sensitivity those among us who are called to follow more closely the Lord Jesus, who "has given himself for us" (cf. Gal 2:20). Amen!

Prayer for the Family of St. Mother Teresa
Heavenly Father,
you have given us the model of life
in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, O Loving Father,
to make our family another Nazareth
where love, peace and joy reign.
May it be deeply contemplative,
intensely eucharistic,
revived with joy.
Help us to stay together in joy
and sorrow in family prayer.
Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our families,
especially in their distressing disguise.
May the Eucharistic heart of Jesus
make our hearts humble like his
and help us to carry out our family duties
in a holy way.
May we love one another
as God loves each one of us,
more and more each day,
and forgive each others faults
as you forgive our sins.
Help us, O Loving Father,
to take whatever you give
and give whatever you take with a big smile.

Immaculate Heart of Mary,
cause of our joy, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Holy Guardian Angels,
be always with us,
guide and protect us.

Consecration of the Family
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, Who having come to enlighten the world, with Your teaching and example, willed to pass the greater part of Your life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to You this day. Defend us, guard us and establish among us Your holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Your Family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by your kind intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

Saint Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that we may be able to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and you, for all eternity. 

Our Father, Hail Mary and Gloria three times. (Catholic Family Handbook)

A Family Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of our family. Enlighten our hearts and minds that we may live more fully this vocation of love. In our daily life and work, may we reflect the self-giving love which you, O Father, eternally show with your Son and the Holy Spirit. Let your love be evident in the peace that reigns in our home and in the faith we profess and live. May our family always be a place of generosity, understanding, forgiveness and joy. Kindly give us the wisdom and courage to be witnesses to your eternal design for the family; and grant that the Holy Family of Nazareth may always guide our path to holiness as a family. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen (Archbishop William Lori)

Prayer for a Married Couple
O God, unite our hearts in the never-ending bond of pure love. May our sacrament bring you happiness and may your generous love for us be returned to you, many times over. May the peace of Christ live always in our hearts and in our home. May we continue to have true friends who stand by us both in joy and in sorrow. May we be ready and willing to help and comfort all who come to us in need, and may the blessings promised to the compassionate someday be ours. May we find happiness and satisfaction in our occupations. May daily problems never cause us undue anxiety, nor the desire for earthly comforts dominate our lives. May you bless us with many more happy years together and may you one day welcome us together into your eternal kingdom. Amen.

Prayer for our Parents

O Almighty God, you gave us the commandment to honor our father and mother. In your loving kindness hear my prayer for my parents. Give them long lives and keep them well in body and spirit. Bless their labors; keep them always in your care. Bless them generously for their loving care for me. Grant that, through your grace, I may always be their support and comfort, and that, after our life together on earth, we may experience the joy together praising you forever.

Liturgical Prayer on a Marriage Anniversary
God, Creator of all things, who in the beginning made man and woman they might form the marriage bond, bless and strengthen the union of your servants N. and N., that they may show forth an ever more perfect image of the union of Christ with his Church.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Prayers of Spouses for Each Other
Lord Jesus, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. May we always bear with one another's weaknesses and grow from each other's strengths. Help us to forgive one another’s failing and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the wellbeing of one another ahead of self.
May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to you through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.

Lord, bless this dear person whom you have chosen to be my spouse. Make his life long and blessed. May I become a great blessing to him (or her), a sharer in all his sufferings and sorrows, and a suitable helper in his changes and difficulties in this life. Make me lovable forever in his (or her) eyes and forever dear to him (or her). Keep me from all unreasonableness of passion and whims. Make me humble and giving, strong, dedicated, appreciative, prudent and understanding. May we ever take delight in each other, according to your blessed Word, both sharing in your Divine love. Amen

Wife’s Prayer
O merciful Lord God, who in the beginning didst take Eve out of the side of Adam and didst give her to him as a helpmate: grant me grace to live worthy of the honorable estate of matrimony to which Thou hast called me, that I may love my husband with a pure and chaste love, acknowledging him as my head, and truly reverencing and obeying him in all good things; that thereby I may please him, and live with him in all Christian serenity. Keep me from all worldliness and vanity. Help me, O Lord, that I may, under him, prudently and discreetly guide and govern his household. Let no fault of mine aggravate any sins by which he may be especially tempted; enable me to soothe him in perplexity, to cheer him in difficulty, to refresh him in weariness, and, as far as may be, to advise him in doubt. Give me understanding so to fulfill my part in the education of our children, that they may be our joy in this world and our glory in the next. Grant that our perfect union here may be the beginning of the still more perfect and blissful union hereafter in Thy kingdom; and this I pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots, for the Strengthening of Marriages
Blessed Mother, take into your hands
the knots that affect married couples,
and with your long fingers of love and grace
undo these knots for the glory of God.
Visit married couples with your grace;
renew their sacramental covenant,
increase God's love in them,
and strengthen their bond of peace
so that, with their children,
they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us

Prayers for Peace in the Family
Lord Jesus, be with my family. Grant us your peace and harmony, an end to conflict, and division. Give us the compassion to better understand one another, wisdom and love to assist one another, and trust and patience to live peacefully together. Grant that through the intercession of your Mother, Mary, and St. Joseph, our family may become a holy family accepting one another, working together in unity, selflessly dedicated to one another and to you. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for a Family
O Dear Jesus, I humbly implore you to grant your special graces to our family. May our home be the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. I beg you, dear Jesus, to protect and bless all of us, absent and present, living and dead. O Mary, loving Mother of Jesus, and our Mother, pray to Jesus for our family, for all the families of the world, to guard the cradle of the newborn, the schools of the young and their vocations. Blessed Saint Joseph, holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all the necessities of life. Ask of Jesus that special grace which He granted to you, to watch over our home at the pillow of the sick and the dying, so that with Mary and with you, heaven may find our family unbroken in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.

Liturgical Prayer for Relatives and Friends
O God, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit have filled the hearts of your faithful with gifts of charity, grant health of mind and body to your servants for whom we beseech your mercy, that they may love you with all their strength, and with all their love do what is pleasing to you.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Spiritual Reading - Wikipedia

One of my contributions at Wikipedia

Spiritual reading is a practice of reading books and articles about spirituality with the purpose of growing in holiness.
Spiritual reading is devoted to the reading of lives of saints, writings of Doctors and the Fathers of the Church, theological works written by holy people, and doctrinal writings of Church authorities. It is different from lectio divina which focuses on the bible.
The biblical basis is St. Paul's advice "Attend to reading" (1 Tim 4:13) which meant that Timothy his disciple should "apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time," said St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Catholic Church on Moral theology. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that "spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won."
All the founders of religious orders have strongly recommended this holy exercise, states St. Alphonsus. And in the early 20th century, St. Pope Pius X recommended this practice as a means of holiness.

Basis and advantages

The biblical basis of this practice is St. Paul's advice to his disciple Timothy whom he appointed bishop. St. Paul told him to "Attend to reading." The word "attend" an allusion to the many other concerns that a bishop has to attend to. By this, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church on Moral theology, the Apostle Paul "wished him to apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time."
The Fathers of the Church recommended this practice: St. Jerome says that when we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us. St. Ambrose of Milan says the same: "We address him when we pray; we hear him when we read."
Spiritual reading is an instruction in prayer and virtue, according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and thus he said that "spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won." St. Josemaria Escriva explained that spiritual reading "builds up a store of fuel. — It looks like a lifeless heap, but I often find that my memory, of its own accord, will draw from it material which fills my prayer with life and inflames my thanksgiving after Communion." (The Way 117)
Spiritual reading provides access to spiritual advice from masters of spirituality, says St. Alphonsus Liguori. Thus, St. Pius X further thoroughly explained:
Everyone knows the great influence that is exerted by the voice of a friend who gives candid advice, assists by his counsel, corrects, encourages and leads one away from error. Blessed is the man who has found a true friend; he that has found him has found a treasure. We should, then, count pious books among our true friends. They solemnly remind us of our duties and of the prescriptions of legitimate discipline; they arouse the heavenly voices that were stifled in our souls; they rid our resolutions of listlessness; they disturb our deceitful complacency; they show the true nature of less worthy affections to which we have sought to close our eyes; they bring to light the many dangers which beset the path of the imprudent. They render all these services with such kindly discretion that they prove themselves to be not only our friends, but the very best of friends. They are always at hand, constantly beside us to assist us in the needs of our souls; their voice is never harsh, their advice is never self-seeking, their words are never timid or deceitful.
"When I read holy books," says St. Gregory the Theologian about the books of St. Basil the Great, "then the spirit and body are illumined and I become the temple of God and the harp of the Holy Spirit, played by divine powers through them I am corrected and through them I receive a kind of divine change and I am made into a different person."
Reading of holy books is also a way to fight temptations: "Endeavor to have always in your hand a pious book," advised St. Jerome to his disciple Salvina, "that with this shield you may defend yourself against bad thoughts."
All the founders of religious orders have strongly recommended this holy exercise to their religious, said St. Alphonsus.

Examples of sanctifying effect

Throughout the history of Christian spirituality, spiritual reading has been seen to be of great benefit to many souls, and according to St. Pius X, "There are many striking examples of the salutary effects of the reading of pious books."
St. Ignatius of Loyola decided to be a man of God after reading the life of Jesus and some saints
Some examples are:
  • St. Augustine of Hippo, considered one of the greatest Fathers of the Church, converted to the Catholic Church upon hearing a boy tell him" "Take, read; take, read." He recounted that "I took (the epistles of Paul the Apostle), I opened, I read in silence; it was as though the darkness of all my doubting was driven away by the light of peace which had entered my soul."
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of what is considered as the largest religious order in Catholicism, decided to live a saintly life, after reading a volume of the lives of the saints which he accidentally took up while he was in a hospital bed.
  • St. Edith Stein, Patron of Europe, converted to Catholicism after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila on a holiday in Göttingen in 1921, at the age of 29. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." She went out the next day to buy a missal and a copy of the Catholic catechism.
  • Thomas Merton, a known spiritual writer, read a book by Étienne Gilson, on "The Elements of Christian Philosophy," and decided to study Catholicism. He later converted and became a Trappist monk.


St. Alphonsus recommends some principles and attitudes for spiritual reading.
  • Ask God for help beforehand, because through reading it is God who speaks to us. Thus he recommended the prayer of Samuel: Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. Speak, O my Lord, for I wish to obey you in all that you will make known to me to be your will.
  • The exclusive purpose of the reading is to advance in divine love, and not to acquire learning and indulge in curiosity. To do spiritual reading with false intentions is "a study unprofitable to the soul," and "lost time."
  • Read slowly and with attention. "'Nourish your soul,' says St. Augustine, 'with divine lectures.'" To be nourished, he said, one must chew and well and ponder well, and apply the teachings to oneself. "And when what you have read has made a lively impression on you, St. Ephrem counsels you to read it a second time...Besides, when you receive any special light in reading, or any instruction that penetrates the heart, it will be very useful to stop, and to raise the mind to God by making a good resolution, or a good act, or a fervent prayer. St. Bernard says, that it is useful then to interrupt the reading, and to offer a prayer, and to continue to pray as long as the lively impression lasts."
  • Select some sentiment of devotion, at the end of reading. "Carry it with you as you would carry a flower from a garden of pleasure."


Haerent Animo by Pius X

St. Alphonsus Liguori on Spiritual reading

Read any books lately? A Plan for a lifetime of spiritual reading by Fr. John McCloskey

Catholic lifetime reading plan

Sermon on Reading Spiritual Works by Archbishop Platon of Kostroma

Spiritual reading and its effects on human growth

Sunday, October 15, 2017


There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world. (St. Teresa of Avila)

Get the one-page leaflet or executive summary here or here (PDF).  

Why is pride an enemy, even our greatest enemy?

  • Pride, “inordinate self-love, is the cause of every sin.” (St. Thomas) If sin is our enemy, the only real evil, and pride its cause, then pride is the greatest enemy within us we have to overcome.
  • Pride was the sin of Adam and Lucifer.  It is “the chief cause of suffering in every nation, in every family since the world began.” (C.S. Lewis)
  • Pride is the trickiest, most devious enemy. It blinds us, so we can’t see our own pride. The proud man thinks he is humble and the others proud. Not himself.
What is pride, so I can fight it?

  • Pride is inordinate or disordered love of our own excellence. (St. Thomas).
  • If "humility is truth", then pride is falsehood. The falsehood that I am the center of the universe and of everybody else's attention. Not God. Thus, pride is “playing God”. (Peter Kreeft)
  • Pride is essentially competitive. (C.S. Lewis)  You treat others as rivals, and put them down, so you can go up.
What are the benefits of not being proud, of being humble, of living in the truth?

  • Divine help. “God resists the proud and gives his grace to the humble.” Only an open, empty glass can be filled with new wine.
  • Greatness. Mary, the greatest person after God, attributes all her greatness to her “lowliness”. “Those who humble themselves as little children are the greatest in the Kingdom of God.” (Jesus)
  • Overcoming sins. If pride is the cause of all sin, then overcoming pride helps us overcome our other sins, such as lust, avarice, dishonesty, sloth (repulsion to God who is Joy and Goodness).
  • Real nobility. “Humility is the most important virtue,” (St. Bernard) “the foundation of all the other virtues. If humility is not in a soul, he does not have any virtue, except mere appearance.”  (St. Augustine)  
  • Deep peace. Pride is the root of gloom. “90% of our personal problems come from thinking too much of ourselves.” (St. Josemaria)  While humility brings tranquility: “rest for your souls.” (Jesus)
How can I know if I am proud, since pride is hard to spot? (This list is mainly based on the teachings of St. Josemaria)
  1. Preferring your own excellence over your neighbor's. Making your thoughts and concerns revolve around yourself; not around God and others. Thinking too much of how others think of you
  2. Being touchy. Easily taking offense at the slightest hint of criticism which might not even be directed towards you. Resenting anything that brings down others’ opinion of you.
  3. Being vain. Thinking yourself better than what you really are. Having an undue esteem over your appearance or achievements
  4. Not recognizing the truth of your personal defects and deficiencies. Making excuses when corrected. Hiding some humiliating faults from your spiritual director or life coach. Being sad over not having certain possessions, and good qualities
  5. Thinking of yourself as better than others. Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say. Mentioning yourself as an example. Being hurt that others are praised.
  6. Being arrogant. Having an exaggerated sense of your own importance or abilities. Refusing to carry out menial tasks
  7. Being domineering. Always wanting to get your own way. Quarreling when you are not right or when you are, insisting stubbornly or with bad manners
  8. Looking down at others and putting them down. Despising the point of view of others. Being ready to reveal defects of anyone who stands out (crab mentality). Insulting and ridiculing others
  9. Seeking yourself and seeking attention for yourself. Avidly going after praise. Boasting and making undue public display of one’s own achievements. Faking pain, illness and sadness to get attention. Speaking badly about yourself, so that others may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you. Letting drop hints of self-praise
  10. Not having a deep awareness of yourself, as sinner and a creature totally dependent on God. Not acknowledging that everything we are, do and own come from God, and will disappear without God’s conserving power. Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honor or esteem
What virtues are not really pride, and go with humility?

  • Magnanimity, striving to do great things that bring great honor
  • Responsibility and courage, sticking to do good despite discomfort
  • Care for the body with good posture and dignified clothes.
How can I overcome pride and become humble?

  1. Always relish these most basic truths, especially when you do good:  I came from nothing, apart from Christ I can do nothing, I am God’s most beloved child, and I am his instrument in his work.
  2. Make humility a priority. Only God can overcome sin, but we have to do our part. Go often to Jesus’ healing sacraments. Beg him for humility, walking in the truth of our littleness and greatness as God’s kids. See the conquest of pride as “the best of the best” of your daily mortifications, (Cf. CPB 9)  prizing unperceived sacrifice.
  3. Know yourself. Practice self-examination. Be exacting in detecting acts of pride with the help of the list above. Crucial is Jesus’ humble tax collector’s prayer: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
  4. Think often of your inevitable death.  And your rotten, forgotten remains after death. Both “human” and “humility” come from humus, meaning earth, ground, soil and dirt.
  5. Be happy to say “My mistake, I’m sorry!” Be grateful for humiliations and criticisms. Even saying inside: they will say worse things if they knew my thoughts. The gauge of true humility is “when you are humbled by others and you bear it for Christ.” Sing: “I more gladly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest in me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:19)
  6. Forget yourself. “A person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.” (H.E. Fosdick) While humility is the ecstatically joyful self-forgetfulness of the mystics focused on God. (Cf. P. Kreeft)
  7. Trust God and not yourself.  And learn to ask for help. The proud Pharisee “trusted himself”. Pride grows when we trust our abilities.
  8. Serve and make others great. Be upbeat and encouraging when they do good. See their defects as opportunities to serve them. “To give oneself sincerely to others is so effective that God rewards it with a humility filled with cheerfulness.” (St. Josemaria)
  9. Enjoy putting God’s tender love (not yourself) at the center of all moments of the day, especially at prayer. Thank him for all and offer all glory to him. Heed Jesus’ invite:  Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.  Make your heart and mind revolve around the utmost act of humility and love, Jesus’ sacrifice.
  10. Submit and embrace God.  Clearly, you are not God. And so your mind, body and, above all, your will need to “embrace” God. Humility is the submitting embrace of God who is Love that liberates from within, as we absorb his divine life: prayer, penance, chastity, and obedience. Jesus’ embrace that saved all is “Not my will but yours be done.” This key attitude, too, will save us from our sins --from pride, their cause-- and make us an active protagonist in Jesus’ work of saving all men from their sins.

Get the one-page leaflet or executive summary here or here (PDF).