Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fr. Victorino Osende on Holy Pride

All passions have a good as well as a bad aspect, but by reason of regarding them always from their bad aspect, we forget the good that is in them. Pride, ambition, anger, and all aversions and affections are bad only when they are disordered, that is, when they deal with unworthy objects or when they are wrongly exercised concerning good objects. Pride is evil if it is founded on one's own worth or induces us to despise others. Ambition is evil if it impels us to strive after false honors and dignities or makes us as eager for false as for true honors. Anger is evil if it moves us to act unjustly or, though justly motivated, exceeds due limits. In short, the love of evil and aversion to good are bad because that is the source from which all sins flow.

However, these same passions are good and holy when they deal with worthy objects and are rightly exercised. Even self-love, which is the root and sum of all the passions, becomes good and holy when it is founded on just motives and deals with objects worthy of man. Righteous self-love is the father of holy pride which makes us esteem ourselves and take just pride in our exalted state as children of God. It is the father of holy ambition which makes us despise all things earthly as unworthy of noble and generous hearts that only the immortal, eternal, and divine can satisfy. It is the father of holy indignation which reveals itself with indomitable energy against every action or intention beneath the dignity of a being whose soul is marked with the seal of divinity.

This is what good self-love and holy pride teach us:

Do not occupy yourself with nor attribute importance to anything but the divine, the immortal, and the eternal, for that alone is worthy of you. Do not occupy yourself with anything earthly, not even to despise it.

Do not sell your holy liberty for anything, for you are worth more than the whole world. Do not make yourself a slave of men or submit to their judgments and whims, for they are not your judges nor your God. God alone is superior to you and only He can judge you.

Conduct yourself well and do all the good that you can for everyone, for you are a child of God and you should do as He did; but never expect any recompense from man. To know that one is good is the best reward.

When that which at one time gave you pleasure becomes a source of mortification to you, then you will be perfect.

He who is a slave of his passions is a slave of every tyranny. No one can be free if he does not liberate himself from himself.

To him who has the approbation of God, the praises and vituperations of men matter little. He who has a place among the angels is little concerned about having one among men.

He who realizes his divine greatness can easily humble himself. Contempt humiliates only the contemptible. He who is proud with a holy pride recognizes no other absolute sovereignty than that of God.

Do not attempt to enslave him whom God has made free, for it is a vain attempt. He will forever sing his sublime Magnificat:

I am nothing.
I am miserable.
I am the least of men.
But God has regarded my humility and has done great things to me.
In God I am great.
In God I am free.
In God I am divine.

No; it is vain to try to enslave him whom God has made free. His heart is free, his soul is free, and his spirit is free, for they are slaves of love and of truth.

Be, therefore, proud with a holy pride and do not taint your dignity or sell your sovereignty for all the world.


Source: Fr. Victornio Osende, Fruits of Contemplation, trans. by a Dominican Sister of the Perpetual Rosary (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1963), 105-107.

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