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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

"Pride gives birth to dissension..."

One thing stuck with me from Saint Augustine's sermon "On Pastors" in yesterdays Office of Readings, but unfortunately, left me less resolute than ever -- am I prideful if I do what I think is right? am I a lazy wuss if I submit to someone both charged with authority and misinformed? if there a line I can find that saves me from either extreme? is the line non-existent and should I just offer to step aside again?
If nothing else, I absolutely hasta learn the humility necessary to live with the fear that someone who knows better will think obvious blunders were my decision... that's always been a failing of mine, I always have an excuse for everything and being prevented from offering it eats at me.

They are straying across the mountains and the high hills, they have been scattered over all the face of the earth. What does this mean, scattered over all the face of the earth? That they attach themselves to earthly things, the things that glitter on the face of the earth: they love and desire them. They do not want to die and be hidden away in Christ. Over all the face of the earth not only because they love earthly things but because across all the earth there are sheep astray. They are everywhere, but one thing, pride, is the mother of them all, just as Christians who are spread over all the world have one mother, the Church.
So it is not to be wondered at that pride gives birth to dissension while love generates unity.

When I was a kid, well, late teens, there was a man who sometimes served as cantor at our parish for weekday Masses. He was elderly, but had an incredibly powerful voice, with real "ping" and had surely been a choir member, perhaps a soloist before my time.
But what always struck me was how he went his own way on tempo, ignoring the organ, ignoring the congregation.
And whenever he cantored, [yeah, yeah, I know that's not a real word, unless the discussion is equestrian...] or even was in the congregation, for the same thing happened then, it set me to wondering.
It was the first time I had through about sin in a general, serious way, (rather than in terms of an actual or contemplated action or inaction of my own,) and it was about Pride.

Is it more prideful to insist on something when you're wrong, to insist on doing something when you're incompetent?
Or when you're right, and skilled?

Or doesn't it matter? does God not care? does the acid rain of pride fall on the talented and untalented alike?

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