31 July, Saturday — Pride

Jul 31 – Memorial for St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

St. Ignatius (1491-1556) was wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on 20 May 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of lives of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him.

On his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim’s robes. He lived in a cave for a year, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.

  • Patron Saint Index

Lev 25:1,8-17
Mt 14:1-12

“…Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison…the king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered…John beheaded in the prison.”

Most of us are like Herod in one way or another. What do I mean? I dare say that most of us have a pretty good moral compass or guidance system that helps us to decipher right from wrong. But often, our pride gets us into a pickle and even though we know something is wrong, we convince ourselves to go ahead with it. Just like Herod. 

Herod knew in his heart that John was a good and righteous man. He also wanted to marry Herodias, his brother’s wife, knowing that John spoke out against it. That is why Herod arrested and jailed John, so he did not have to face any more criticism. In a moment of weakness, filled with wine, food and sensory pleasures, Herod made an oath to give Herodias’ daughter anything she asked for. When John’s head was requested, Herod immediately regretted it, but his pride prevented him from admitting he made a mistake. His pride made him go through with the promise even though he really did not want to, even though he knew it to be wrong, hence he was distressed. But Herod was weak and could not recognize that it was his pride, nothing more, that prevented him from doing the right thing.

I took a long look in the mirror and saw that many times, I made the same actions and reactions as Herod. I am not proud of it (no pun intended). Words come out of my mouth quicker than reason enters my thoughts. Many times, I say things that I regret, and my pride dictates that I should keep to my words instead of admitting that I made a mistake. And then things snowball until I lose control of the situation and, perhaps, a little of myself. Upon reflecting, if I had not been a slave to my pride, but instead broke free of its bondage and perhaps ate a little humble pie, I would be free of its oppression, wanting to turn back but forced to continue down the wrong path. When I want to keep my integrity for pride’s sake, I end up losing the one thing that truly matters — righteousness in the eyes of God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: My most loving Lord, please grant us the humility to battle the sin of pride. For pride leads us to destruction and, by taking a step back from it towards humility, leads to freedom. Help us to imitate You, humble and meek in spirit.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving Jesus and all the Saints as examples of humility, and for empowering us to recognize and to battle our pride.

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