There has been a lot of talk in the past week about pride’s opposite, humility. As in, Pope Benedict XVI has shown great humility in renouncing the Petrine Ministry (resigning the papacy). I find this talk strange considering that so many people today rarely and truly understand the meaning of pride. In its basic meaning, pride is a bad thing. It is, simply put, thinking too highly of oneself. It is the ultimate sin. Adam and Eve committed a sin of pride and this lost them the gift of God’s friendship. Pride goeth before the fall, as they say. But pride can have a different meaning, too. This is evident whenever a parent tells his child “I’m so proud of you!” or when a teacher tells a student “I’m proud of your accomplishments!” Here, pride denotes a sense of excitement and recognition that the speaker feels in the works of the object. To tell another you are proud of him is to say that you feel an emotional attachment to his work making your heart swell and deepening your connection to him. For instance, an athlete spends hours lifting weights, running drills, and sacrificing time away from other activities. His efforts pay off and his coach is proud. Coach is proud not because he (coach) has achieved the victory but because he has invested his time in the athlete’s performance and coach thus recognizes in place of the athlete all that the athlete has accomplished. This brings us to the point of reflection and our daily prompt.
When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?
This is a tough one. I cannot honestly recall anyone ever telling me this. So let’s talk about a different kind of pride.