Fourth Word vs. Pride

This year I’ve spent part of my Lenten journey alongside the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I received a copy of Sheen’s, “The Seven Capital Sins” from a family member. He found it edifying and thought I would to. I certainly did. The book is a compilation of eight Sunday radio address’ delivered from February 26th to April 9th, 1939, where he gave excellent meditations correlating Our Lord’s last words from the cross with the capital sins.
I found Sheen’s meditation on the fourth word, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” very insightful. He juxtaposes this with the sin of pride. Sheen found pride, in 1939, manifested in the spread of atheistic communism, nationalism, intellectual vanity, superficiality, and snobbery. Nothing has changed in three quarters of a century, Eccl (1:2-4, 9) “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? … What has been, that will be; what has been done that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun”
Pride is considered the root of all sin. It was pride that lead Lucifer, the most brilliant of all God’s heavenly creatures to become Satan and in turn lead man from the garden. Sheen explains that such self- exaltation could only be cured by self-humiliation and the supreme self-humiliation was the manner of death to which Christ submitted, “For He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8). Sheen expounds on this, “To atone for false pride of ancestry: He thrusts aside the consolation of Divinity; for pride of popularity: He is laughed to scorn as He hangs cursed upon a tree; for pride of snobbery: He is put in company of thieves; for pride of wealth: He is denied even the ownership of His own deathbed; for pride of flesh: ‘there was no beauty within him’; for pride in influential friends: He is forgotten even by those whom He cured; for pride of power: He is weak and abandoned; for pride of those who surrender God and their faith: He wills to feel without God. For all the egotism, false independence, and atheism: he now offers satisfaction by surrendering the joys and consolations of His Divine Nature. Because proud men forget God, He permits Himself to feel Godless and it broke His heart in the saddest of all cries: ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ There was a union even in the separation: but they were words of desolation uttered that we might never be without consolation”.
Wishing everyone a blessed Triduum.

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