Warning on Pride

by Frank Jones


“Martin of Braga: Although, in general, this inflation of pride attacks many people, there are none who have to fear it more than those who have reached the perfection of virtues of the spirit or copious riches and highest offices in the flesh. It becomes all the greater in their cases, because the one who shows pride is greater. It is not content to destroy lowly and common people, but it is also present in the wiles of the greatest. The higher their rank, the deeper their fall. Hence Scripture also has this to say about the same spirit of pride: “And his food,” it says, “is rich.” It attacks people who are select and lofty. It suggests to them that they are great, that they need nothing, that whatever they do, think or say is all due to their wisdom and their prudence. If something turns out well for them under God’s direction, they straightaway claim that it was due to their own strength and their own industry, and they shout, “I did this,” “I said it,” “I thought it,” and as if everyone were stunned, they seize the glory of God and offer themselves to be admired in his likeness. [emphasis, mine] By a righteous sentence, God withdraws his protection from them, as the apostle says, “He has given them up to a reprobate sense, so that they do not do or think what is fitting,” because, when they recognize the providence of God in all matters, they do not magnify God or offer thanks, but they boast of themselves and turn aside in their own idle thoughts. Though they claim to be wise, they are foolish; though they boast that they are firm, unconquered, powerful, they are weak, conquered and powerless. On Pride 8.

(Ferreiro, Alberto, ed. The Twelve Prophets. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003, 189.)