The early Church fathers compiled a list of what they called “the seven deadly sins.”  Number one on that list was the sin of pride.  I doubt that you and I would have done it that way.  We may recognize that pride is indeed a sin, but most of us would not think of it as the first and worst of the deadly sins.  I can think of at least three sins that most of us consider to be more serious than the sin of pride – murder, adultery, and stealing.

                And is there not a sense in which pride can be a good thing?  I heard of an old Scotsman whose morning prayer was the same: “Lord, help me this day to hold a high opinion of myself.”  That kind of pride is a grace; we all need it.

                So why all the fuss about pride? Why did the prophets and apostles denounce it so sternly?  Why has the Church historically warned us against it?  What’s so bad about it?  What’s really wrong with pride?  Could it be that we might be guilty of the sin of pride and not even know about it?  Search your soul for a few minutes with this question: Is there any person or any group of people anywhere whom you stand above, look down upon, and consider yourself to be better than they are?

                It may be a matter of race.  Do you ever find yourself thinking that people whose skin is a different shade are not quite as good or as worthy as you are?  What attitude constitutes the sin of racial pride that had filled the earth with tension and soaked its soil in blood for thousands of years.

                It may be a matter of moral and ethical behavior.  How easy it is for those of us who are sober to look with contempt on the alcoholics and the drug addicts.  Surely, we must be better people than they are.  How logical it seems to those of us who live within the law to look with contempt upon our prison population.  Can there be any doubt that we are a finer breed of people than they are?

                Pride is such a subtle sin.  We can be guilty of it and not even know it.

                And look at what it does to our lives.  It divides people and builds a wall of separation between them.

                It would seem that the Church fathers were right.  Pride is a deadly sin.  It creeps into our lives and does its venomous work, separating us from one another and from God.  We need to see ourselves as we really are, then we need to change our attitudes.  With God’s help and with our reflection it can happen.  We need to put it into practice today.