Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Humility 4


The old men used to say, "When we do not experience warfare, we ought so much the more to humiliate ourselves. For God seeing our weakness, protects us; when we glorify ourselves, he withdraws his protection and we are lost."

The Seven Deadly Sins is a concept that was taken far more seriously in earlier centuries than it is now. I wonder if our modern emphasis upon self-esteem has anything to do with it. I read in the paper the other day that as a result of stressing self-esteem in our schools, America has produced a generation of narcissists.

This business of glorifying ourselves is not new. The earliest Greek playwrights wrote about the dangers of pride or in their language is hubris. The Desert Christians tell us our pride closes a door between God and us. And we are left to experience the consequences of being left to our own devices. Has that worked out well for any of us?


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