by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue of Ohrid, January 2nd
Of all that exists on the four corners of the earth, what, O mortal man, can make us proud except stupidities and demonic illusions. Did we not enter into the world naked and wretched and are we not going to depart this world in the same manner? Everything that we have, did we not borrow it; and by our death, are we not going to return everything? Oh, how many times has this been said and overheard? The wise apostle says, "For we have brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it" (I Timothy 6:7). And, when we offer sacrifice to God of ordinary bread and wine, we say, "Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee" (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom). For nothing that we have in this world is ours: not even a crumb of bread nor a drop of wine; nothing that is not of God. In truth, pride is the daughter of stupidity, the daughter of a darkened mind, born of evil ties with the demons.
Pride is a broad window through which all of our merits and good works evaporate. Nothing makes us so empty before men and so unworthy before God as does pride. When the Lord is not proud, why should we be proud? Who has more reason to be proud than the Lord, Who created the world and Who sustains it by His power? And behold, He humbles himself as a servant, a servant to the whole world: a servant even to the death, to the death on the Cross!
There is no doubt that most readers have heard the aphorism: 'money is the root of all evils.’ This apothegm is actually a popularization of St. Paul's instruction to St. Timothy (1Tim 6: 10): “For the love of money is a root of all of evils. . . .” Of course, there is much wisdom in this teaching. However, we must consider that there is a vice that precedes and nourishes this 'root' of money, and all the other vices as well. St. Hesychios the Priest writes: ". . . the crown of all these, pride." (Philokalia I). St. John Cassian (Philokalia I) suggests the reason. He says “. . . it acts like some harsh tyrant who has gained control of a great city . . . . as a result regard[s] himself as equal to God." Such people, says the prophet Isaiah (14: 14), say to themselves "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High."
There is agreement among world religions on the deleterious nature of pride. The Hindu scripture states: "Those who know truly are free from pride and deceit (Bhagavad-Gita 13:7)." In the Koran it is written (Surah 96: 6-8): "Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds, In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient. Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all)." In the Buddhist tradition we read: "Free from . . . overbearing pride, principled, trained, a 'last-body': he's what I call a Brahmin [the elite]. (Dhammapada, 26).”
by Rev. Robert E. Lucas
from The Word, December 1962
In Arabic folklore, there is a tale that as the tares and the wheat grow, they show which God has blessed. The ears that have been blessed bow their heads and acknowledge every grain, and the more fruitful they are, the lower their heads are bowed. The tares which God has sent as a curse lift up their heads erect, high above the wheat, but they are only fruitful of evil.
Pride, in any form is an enemy of man. Pride deceives us and insists we have no faults, are better than others and that we should hold ourselves above our fellow man. Pride makes us think that all our talents, all our blessings emanate from ourselves and our own efforts and abilities. Pride discounts God and inflates the individual.
It is true that we should have reasonable pride in our appearance, our family, our home, school, and above all, in our Church. It is a healthy pride when we try to excel in our work, when we try to do better or to better ourselves. Of course, here too, the motive is important. We must make God our partner in our endeavors and in our successes.
Pride is the first sin that was committed in heaven and on earth. It was the voice of Lucifer that cried out: “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14: 13) It was the cause of the downfall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, because they thought they could be like God.