•School pictures for ID cards will be taken Tuesday, September 6th. Parents, please make sure your student’s uniform is clean and pressed and his hair is cut according to school standards before he returns to school on Monday, September 5th.
•The second and final payment for the Rome trip is due on November 1.
•The first football game in scheduled for Friday, September 2, at 7:00 PM, at Sage Hill [20402 Newport Coast Dr., Newport Coast, CA 92657].
•Students running on the cross country team must turn in their fee ASAP.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.
Words taken from the Book of Sirach, which we heard in today’s first reading.
The sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, that sin which has left its effects on the rest of the human race until the end of time, was not a sin of gluttony—an irrational desire to eat a piece of fruit, nor was it the sin of lust, because, having been born in the state of innocence, Adam and Eve had perfect control of their passions. It was that sin which would ever after be the root of most, if not all of man’s other sins; it was the very same sin committed by Lucifer himself: the sin of pride. Pride: the inordinate desire for one’s own excellence.
Pride is one of the “cardinal sins”. You might remember from your catechism that it is called a “cardinal sin” because the word “cardinal” is derived from a Latin word meaning “hinge”; and this sin of pride is one on which hinges many other sins. Scripture even says that it is the “root of all sins.” Again, to take the example of both Lucifer and Adam and Eve: having had an inordinate desire for their own excellence, all three quickly turned to envy (which is the inordinate desire for another’s good) and then to disobedience. From this first sin of pride was born, so to speak, the two ugly offspring of envy and disobedience. And such is always the case with this horrible sin.
Think of something which you’ve done wrong and then try to trace it back to its ultimate source; at the end of the line you’ll most often find pride: jealousy and envy come because we’re too concerned with our own excellence; stealing, lying, talking poorly of others—are, again, rooted in our own self-love; even sins of gluttony and lust and sloth come ultimately from the fact that we are more concerned with satisfying “me” than God. And, what’s worse, because pride is so common in our daily lives—especially in today’s society—we don’t even notice its presence anymore; but it’s definitely there: the scientist, who has no problem killing babies in order to further his scientific knowledge; the couple, who will not be told how to live their lives, “Let that pope keep his nose out of our bedroom!” they say; the businessman, whose goal is to make a buck at all costs; the teenager, who’s idea of freedom means the liberty to do whatever pleases me; and yes, even the priest, who is afraid to speak the truth for fear that he might become unpopular among the laity. In every case our own egos are exalted as gods. By an uncanny coincidence even the very word “pride” is centered on the letter “I.”
So pride seems to be everywhere; in fact, St. Augustine said that pride infects even good works in order to destroy them. Well, what are we to do in the face of this wretched sin which devours everything in its path? Christ gives us in today’s Gospel both the antidote, so to speak, as well as the example on how to apply it: Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart. Humility is the weapon, the only weapon, which will help sever the ugly head of pride, and Christ Himself is our example.
Humility, said Bishop Fulton Sheen, is not self-contempt, but the truth about ourselves coupled with a reverence for others. St. Theresa of Avila left us an even simpler definition: Humility is truth, she said. In other words, it is not denying the fact that we may have certain gifts and talents, certain accomplishments and successes; but it is seeing all these things, seeing ourselves, in the proper perspective, realizing that we are very great sinners in need of God’s constant love and mercy, and that, to paraphrase St. Paul, there is no good which we possess which we have not received from God. The humble person does not say that he is nothing; but he does say that what he is and what good he has is due entirely to God’s mercy and generosity. The humble person imitates Christ, Who, though He is God, deigned to become man—a baby in a manger and then to die on the Cross—for our salvation. The humble person is content with the truth that he is only a man and not a god. And, contrary to that wretched offspring of pride, humility brings forth gratitude, generosity, meekness and charity.
St. Vincent de Paul used to say: The most powerful weapon with which to overcome the devil is humility; because, not knowing how to use it himself, he does not even know how to defend himself from it. And consider the words of St. Teresa of Avila: One day of humble recognition of self, although there may have been many afflictions and pains, is a greater grace of God than many days of prayer. And Brother Giles, a saintly Franciscan, used to say: No one can come to the knowledge of God except through humility. The way to go up is to go down.
Humility is so necessary for our salvation that, when asked by someone if he had any advice for one’s spiritual life, St. Augustine replied that he had 3 things to say, Humility, Humility and Humility.
The difference between Adam and Jesus is that Adam was a just a man who wanted to be like a god; Jesus is God, Who out of love for us became a man. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
May we all imitate our Blessed Lord in His great humility and thus conquer that horrible sin of pride, so that on the Last Day we may here the words, My friend, move up to a higher place.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!
•For the repose of the soul of Lori Shaw, D.J. Mason’s grandmother.
•For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
•For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
•For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.