Fighting the Devil's Pride Month
Pride alone, says Fr. Cajetan, sufficed to transform an Angel into a demon. The devil’s fall alone ought to suffice as warning for us, but the world has not heard the warning. Or perhaps the world, too, wishes to join the demons.
Pride or superbia, St. Thomas Aquinas tells us in the Summa Theologiae, “is so called because a man thereby aims higher [supra] than he is… for he who wishes to overstep beyond what he is, is proud.” Pride is also an inordinate desire for greatness. It is opposed to reason, for right reason requires that we should want only that which is proper and proportionate to us. The soul’s evil is that which is opposed to reason; thus, pride is a sin.
St. Thomas furthermore defines four species of pride:
When one boasts of what one does not have.
When one thinks that he, not God, is the source of what he has.
When one believes to have received something from above due to his own merit.
When one “despises others and wishes to be singularly conspicuous.”
In every case a man thinks wrongly of himself and, not only wrongly of himself per se, but wrongly of himself in relationship to God. Whereas humility is the proper subjection of man to God, pride lies in man refusing this subjection. Thus pride is the beginning of all sins, for all sin involves a refusal to obey God.
Is this the pride that we see in pride month? Given that those who love pride month are prone to misnaming things, it could be that pride month too has been misnamed. After all, the pride marchers call abortion, “healthcare”; fornication, “love”; men, “women” and women, “men”; and same-sex contracts, “marriage.” Perhaps they do not really mean “pride.”
The milestone event that began pride month and the annual pride march is the Stonewall Riots. The riots were provoked by an unexpected police raid on an illicit gay bar (one which had been running under shadow with bribes). Violent rioting after breaking the law–yes, they boast of this.
And they claim to be proud of acknowledging the identities they claim to have; they say they are unashamed of who they are. Yet to them, one cannot truly be proud, however, unless one has bravely claimed an identity contrary to tangible reality and natural law. The “proud” are an exclusive club! The others, who are not allowed to be proud of their own “normative” identity, are however allowed to be members of the pride fan club.
These things, pride month proponents say, are things to be proud of. Pride month devotees put themselves out for public adulation, praising themselves as above other unenlightened men, and above the law of God, overstepping who they are: mere creatures, subject to God and the natural law. It is this last, the refusal to be subject to God through the natural law, that is perhaps most dangerous of all.
This is indeed the pride of which St. Thomas speaks, in every species. For the first species, they boast of virtue and dignity when they refuse to act with either. According to the second species, they believe that they, not God, are the source of morality and the source of love. Fitting the third species, the proud who still believe in God believe that the public recognition and acclaim they receive, and the temporary happiness they possess, is a sign of God’s approbation and grace given for their great courage and “honesty.” (See how they have taken the rainbow, the sign of God’s promise, trying to claim it as their own!)
And most of all, these same are characterized by the last species of pride. They publicly reject God and mock His laws. They hate others, for they do not wish for anyone’s salvation, not even their own. (One can’t help but think that they would rather no one be saved, rather than for anyone to be saved on terms other than their own.) And they wish to be conspicuous, for the very purpose of pride month is to gain attention, to be different, rebellious, singular.
Indeed, pride month is not only an act of rebellion, but an act of hatred toward God and others. It is worship of the self, placement of the self above God as well as above all other mankind. This pride prioritizes one’s own thoughts, feelings, and desires, regardless of how misplaced or contradictory they are. Individual desires supersede reason and natural law, revelation and divine law.
We must conclude that pride month is well-named; for those who participate in it refuse to subject themselves to God. Their pride is the tower of Babel, attaining to their own godhood. Their cry is the cry of Lucifer: “I will not serve.”
Then there are those who tacitly support pride month, or refuse to speak against it. They claim that they are thinking of others and being compassionate. They think not of God, but of the public acclaim and friendship they receive, of the warm feelings others will have toward them. They believe that they are the source of goodness and peace in the world, because they foster unity, not division. Yet their action (or inaction) fosters disunity from the Church and ultimately, from God. They, too, are proud.
What are we to do? We must counter the deep-rooted vice of pride with the opposite virtue: humility. Furthermore, we must return June to being the month of the Sacred Heart. These are the antidotes to pride month. Long before gay pride chants, there were devotions and prayers to the Sacred Heart… that Heart so full of humility. Our Lord tells us: learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.
Humility says: He must increase; I must decrease. Pride says: I must increase; He must decrease. Thus the Christian must not be proud; even were there a “pride month” based around Christian identity, it would be an offense, for Christ’s own heart was never proud.
Rather, in all things we must let God increase and ourselves decrease. The Christian should acknowledge his sinfulness; he may boast in his weakness, but only because it is through weakness that God shows His strength. He should extol the power of God, not his own ability. He ought not to brag of holiness like the Pharisee, nor to lord his status over others. He does not need to march in streets, virtue-signal his support for other Christians, or cause riots; he needs only to live a Christian life. This will reveal his true identity: a redeemed child of God.
June is a month to dwell within the Sacred Heart, so that we may become humble. Pride, after all, cannot be defeated with anything but humility. So as “pride month” continues, let us listen not to the world but to the Holy Spirit. By listening to the Spirit, we humbly submit ourselves to God’s will, and receive courage from the Spirit to speak the truth to those who would stone us. Finally, let us also draw close to Our Lady. St. Gregory calls pride the “queen of vices”; we should be ruled instead by our true Queen, whose heart and crown are all humility.
Let us not be proud; let us not join the demons. For Fr. Cajetan tells us:
In Paradise there are many Saints who never gave alms on earth: their poverty justified them. There are many Saints who never mortified their bodies by fasting, or wearing hair shirts: their bodily infirmities excused them. There are many Saints too who were not virgins: their vocation was otherwise. But in Paradise there is no Saint who was not humble.