Tuesday of the Third Week in Lent: A Letter to A Friend – Pride

TO the alarming list of innate vices which you have managed to get together I should like to add another: Pride.  All this preoccupation with your own imperfection is not humility, but an insidious for of spiritual pride. 

What do you expect to be?  A Saint?  There are desperately few of them: and even they found their faults, which are the raw material of sanctity remember, take a desperate lot of working up.  You know best when and how you fall into these various pitfalls.

Try and control yourself when you see the temptation coming.  {Sometimes you will succeed, which is so much to the good.}  Pull yourself up and make an act of contrition when you catch yourself doing any of the things.  Never allow yourself to be pessimistic about your own state.  Look outwards instead of inwards: and when you are inclined to be depressed and think you are getting on badly, make an act of Thanksgiving instead, because others are getting on well. 

The object of your salvation is God’s Glory – not your happiness.

Remember it is all one to the angels whether you or another give Him the holiness He demands.

So, be content to help on His kingdom, remaining yourself in the lowest place.  Merge yourself in the great life of the Christian family.  Make intercessions, work for it, keep it in your mind. 

You have tied yourself up so tight in that accused individualism of yours – the source of all your difficulties – that it is a marvel you can breathe at all.

I hope you are going to get hold of a little personal work amongst the poor when you can?  As for the inclination to cut connection with other people, THAT must be fought tooth and nail, please.  Go out as much as you can, and enter the interests of others, however twaddley.  They are all part of life, remember; and life, for you, is divine.

As to the last crime on your list, however, “dislike of pain,” you need not take a very desponding view.  My dear child, everyone dislikes pain, really – except a few victims of religious and other forms of hysteria.  Even the martyrs, it has been said, had “less joy of their triumph because of the pain they endured.”  They did not want the lions; but they knew how to “endure the Cross” when it came.  Do not worry your head about such things as this: but trust God and live your life bit by bit as it comes.

          There.  God bless you.

          The Letters of Evelyn Underhill

          Letter dated Saint Patrick’s Day, 1909

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