Sunday, February 11, 2018

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

In C.S. Lewis’ classic Screwtape Letters, senior demon Screwtape is mentoring his nephew Wormwood, a junior Tempter, on the ins and outs of securing the damnation of a British man we know only as "the Patient".

"We (demons) want cattle who can finally become food; (God) wants servants who can finally become sons". With this end in mind, Screwtape urges Wormwood to use unconventional tactics and promote apathy and irresponsibility in the Patient. Screwtape says to Wormwood; "(God) wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them" (Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis). Screwtape has learned that the quickest way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach but through his ego, and that’s where he wants Wormwood to focus his efforts.

Pride is the root of all our sin. Through pride we turn away from God and turn our attention toward ourselves. Because of pride, we rebel against God and what God wants for us. And when we put ourselves ahead of others; when other’s feelings are less important than our own, when we believe other people are constantly out-performing us regardless of how well we do, we are acting prideful.
Jim Carrey said it well in a commencement address in 2014; “If you listen to the ego, there will always be someone doing better than you. No matter what you gain, the ego will not let you rest. It will tell you that you cannot stop until you’ve left an indelible mark on the earth, until you’ve achieved immortality. How tricky is this ego that it would tempt us with a promise of something we already possess?"

Father Mark +