Category Archives: pride

Pope Francis–The Foremost Ambassador of Humility

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson                                      

 This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of Evil vs Good. And it makes me think about Pope Francis with his innocent smile and his natural affinity to children and the disabled and downtrodden. It makes me realize that the most famous man on the planet is also the most humble.
 Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears this mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner.

Pope Francis

Yes, he wears that mantle and it is always fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he shows the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others. (Don’t you love the black shoes he wears)?
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him.
Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world mocks that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy the faithful experience when he visits other countries and millions of these folks turn out to see him, waving and singing and even crying as he goes by. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is the successor to St. Peter. He is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.
During his stop in Washington, D.C. last year, the Pope visited with President Obama and then, after offering Mass in the Cathedral, made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He was sending a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life.
That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841. The fact that the Holy Father had just visited with the President of the United States surrounded by the opulence attached to the visit and then, after being cheered by millions as he headed to the Cathedral, mattered not. His smile was broadest while he spent his short time with the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Pope Francis leaves every country he visits a more contented and inspired nation. He reaches out to everyone and many respond. And the reason is so basic; he represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brings to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He does his work well. But, as is the way of things, after he leaves a place, the pride that consumes humankind comes back and makes itself known again. The good news is, after a Papal Visit, pride has fewer followers.
Thank you Holy Father, for the grace, inspiration, love and example you give us. Hopefully we can get you back to America soon. Our country could use a booster shot of humility, especially in the political arena.

                                         ©Larry Peterson 2016  All Rights Reserved

Valentine’s Day is Overshadowed by Pride

 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
 Valentine’s Day is here.  It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine’s Day of 2016.  Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine’s Day and hatred seems to overshadow the Lovein the air.
Love is all about “Giving”, isn’t it? Christ loved us and GAVE His life for us. Now that is some serious “Giving”.  Most followers of Christ do their feeble best to follow His message. But—enter the deadly sin of pride. There is the demon that can grab us in its powerful grip and oftentimes, never let go. The great sin of pride is characterized by all those who seize onto words such as, hurt, libel, disrespect, impolite, mocked, uncivil, rude and the list can go on and on and on.
How sad it is that pride can destroy so much, from family relationships, to friendships, to nations. Whenever our “personhood” is offended by someone else, all that Love can vanish like a puff of smoke in a windstorm.  (Have you seen the “Love” extended by the candidates toward each other in the presidential debates?)
Oh well, it is part of God’s gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. Some of us can forgive and “turn the other cheek”. Others—no way.
Today it seems that Pride* has filled the hearts of many to a point where these people, so consumed, now HATE unconditionally.  What many of them hate most is one word and what it means. That word is made up of only two letters. That word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). 
Here is their problem:  Judeo/Catholic/Christian has boundaries.  Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do…why, the NERVE of Him!  So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject “natural law” for their own personal agendas.
Catholic/Christians are the most persecuted people on earth.  Why is that?  Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love?  All Christians (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants  of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. How powerful is the sin of pride?
The Prideful  rant against Christmas which is all about “giving”. They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can Love & Forgiveness be things to hate? How powerful is the sin of pride?
Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago.  He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat Him, tortured Him and killed Him.  The loving crowds who screamed “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed “Crucify Him” the following Friday.  The list of people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy.  Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him. How powerful is the sin of pride?
So, on this Valentine’s Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17.  “We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him. 
Sadly,  on February 14, 2016, the war on Love increases in intensity.
*Pride: There are two kinds of pride; negative pride and positive pride. This column             references negative pride aka ‘selfishness’ or ‘meism’. Positive pride is the    good pride we take in working hard to do our best while loving our neighbor.
                    ©Larry Peterson2016 All Rights Reserved

Pride vs the Humility of Pope Francis

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wears that mantle and it is fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he continually  shows  the whole world what it means to think of yourself the least among all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback or a Ford Taurus?)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the Papacy. The secular world may mock that concept but that is why they do not understand.  That is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful are experiencing with his Papacy. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts to some  humility they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Pope Francis sees the Face of Christ in EVERYONE.
Last September, during his stop in Washington, D.C.,  he visited with  President Obama and then offered  Mass in the National Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. When he finished he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge,  and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841.
Pope Francis  left our country a more contented and inspired nation. He reached out to everyone and many  responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us and, despite the horrors of jihad and the emptiness of secularism pervading our lives,  his presence and example make our world  a better place. He is HIS ambassador on earth and  he represents HIM well.   We have all been blessed.
                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016   All Rights Reserved

Make No Mistake: The Encyclical, Laudato Si, is Primarily a Spiritual Document. It is NOT Political.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

“Laudato Si” is here and I think many people are thinking/suggesting,accusing/ (pick your own medicine)  that Pope Francis has turned into a “pol”. Yup, he is just another politician on the world stage trying to advance an ideology. So everyone had better take a deep breath. Pope Francis has released a magnificent piece of work that demonstrates how WE (air/water/ trees/marine-life/plants/animals and human beings are all interrelated and depend on each other. Think how true that all is.

The earth is, in fact, our primary home. The sun and the rain nourish the earth’s soil and it gives forth food for animals and people. Some animals eat only plants and then other animals may feed on them (ie: Impalas feed on plants and grass while lions are carnivores and eat Impalas). People feed and survive from the plants and the animals. There is a magnificent balance in nature and we human beings are the most intricate part of it. That is because we are not only the ones who can nurture it, we are also the ones who can harm and destroy it. This is what the Holy Father is telling us. Start taking responsibility for our primary home, the planet we live on.

Pope Francis has nailed it. We are all an extension of each other in this world. Laudato Si reflects the very first chapter of the Bible: The Story of Creation (Please, before reading Laudato Si, re-read the first Chapter of Genesis).
           At the end of the first chapter, v28-29; God blessed them saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”  God also said: See, I give you every seed bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that  crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened, God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good. Evening came and morning followed, the sixth day.

Pages and pages have already been written about this encyclical. It is being torn apart and analyzed by many and then all of these folks are offering their opinions as to what the document REALLY says. Naturally, almost all viewpoints differ. How fortunate we are to have such a wide variety of “expert” opinions to choose from. Well, here is an opinion no-one really gives much credence to–my own.

My opinion is simply this–Laudato Si is foremost a spiritual document reflecting the Word of God as set down in the very beginning of the Bible. God’s primary creation, people, were given dominion over all things on Earth. The Pope is reminding us that we are all connected and all depend on each other and have to nurture and look out for each other. The plants, the animals, the air, the sea, all do what they have to do without reason. They just DO.

On the other hand, we, the people, reason and think. We have pride and ego and greed infiltrates many of our species. We have poured poisonous chemicals into our pure waters, we have polluted the air and sea and lakes, we have destroyed the rain forests. I need not go on. Laudato Si tells us to take care of our primary home, Mother Earth. It is the responsibility of all of us. It is not political but that it is how it will be viewed.

I, for one, wish to thank Pope Francis for “smacking us upside the head” and reminding us that our planet is more than a big blue marble. It is our primary home. Therefore, it is our God given responsibility to keep our home neat and clean.

                                        ©Larry Peterson 2015  All Rights reserved

Pride~The Common Denominator in All Things Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

“There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride.”
Pope Francis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The headlines and newscasts are filled with the news of President Obama’s outrage over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before the United States Congress in March. Apparently a protocol was violated and the Speaker did not inform the White House. 
So why is the President of the United States so angry over this supposedly unprecedented invitation to a foreign leader by the Congress? Who cares, right? WRONG? He was offended. Protocol was the excuse for his anger. The primary cause was “ego”. His ego was sand-blasted into disarray when he was ignored by a person who is NOT the “Big Cheese”. In other words, President Obama’s pride was deflated. Ah yes, that old ‘demon’ pride has once again reared its ignominious and ugly head. He sure knows how to spoil a salad. If protocol was stepped upon it still is no reason to get so angry. But stepping on the pride of someone, anyone, oftentimes yields this result.
Pope Francis’ quote above uses the words, “threatens everyone in the church, all of us”. He is referring to the Pride  that is part of all of us. There is “positive pride” which refers to taking pride in your  work, your appearance, how hard you study, how you treat others etc. Then there is “negative pride” which has been the downfall of so many. This is all about self-gratification and taking care of  your favorite and most revered son/daughter of  worldliness aka secularism, good old “#1”, yourself. This never reaps a fruitful harvest.
This “negative pride” has permeated every nook and cranny of humankind since the days of Adam and Eve. Satan aka Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, used his main weapon to draw Eve into his realm. He used pride to tempt her. Consumed with her inner vanity she was easy pickings for Satan. “Eat the apple (yes, the apple is probably symbolic) and you will be like God.”  
Eve wanted to be like God and her Pride pushed her teeth into that apple and she bit, She turned it over to her man, Adam. Misery loves company and she was probably not feeling very well after that first swallow. Adam bit  into the other half of the apple. VOILA–Original sin and its primary effect, Pride, have been at the forefront of all chaos ever since.  
The untold and undocumented cause of countless cases of pain and suffering caused by Pride over the centuries cover the pages of history. Wars, genocide, torture, scorched-earth policies continue to this very day.  Countless friendships have been permanently severed and how many families have been torn apart?  All because Satan is able to wield his greatest tool, Pride, unchecked and freely. All because so many people willingly grab onto it and refuse to let go.

This incident is fresh in my mind so I would like to share. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day and he had just finished talking to his younger brother on the phone. The brother told him that Catholics can eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My friend told him he was wrong. They got into an argument and my friend hung up on his brother. He told me he is not calling him back until he apologizes. I reminded him that he was the one who “hung up”. He did not care because his brother started it.

These two had not spoken in almost ten years and finally got back together and now—oh man, are you kidding me? And they will both go to Mass and Communion in their respective cities and pound their breasts and bow their heads and be totally oblivious to the two greatest commandments of Loving God and Loving their Neighbor that they are breaking. 

Ah, the great sin of Pride. We have all seen the results up close and personal within our own worlds. Just like my friend and his brother we may be a prisoner of Pride’s deadly grip on ourselves. Parents estranged from children, siblings estranged from each other, families torn apart. The common denominator is always Pride. But the good news is there is an antidote. It is called Humility. St. Augustine said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

 Here is the link to the Litany of Humility. Truly, this prayer is a powerful weapon. It also takes courage to say it. This is how it begins:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus

                                                          Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

When Thinking Family Consider That Two Teenagers Set The Standard for Us All

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

From the Book Of Sirach Ch 3: 2-4

For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children;
A mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Those who honor their father atone for sins;
They store up riches who revere their mother.


N.B: In this essay the use of the word PRIDE refers to Negative Pride

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The birth of Jesus is the greatest act of humility imaginable.

This was God, the Creator of all that there is, becoming like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come in the simplest way of all, among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do this?

 He did this because he loved us unconditionally and wanted us to learn that Pride, the greatest of the deadly sins and the root cause of all the evil in the world,  must be kicked to the curb at all costs. Pride was the reason He came to us. From the first sins of Adam and Eve to the very present, Pride is the villain. Pride is why He had to redeem and save us. Incredibly, he became as HUMBLE as humanly possible to teach us that humility is what conquers Pride. Amazingly, He chose teenagers to set the example for everyone from that very night onward. They showed us that  the love between a man and a woman  will always conquer negative pride if tempered with Humility. For marriage is about loving and sharing and giving of oneself to another–totally. Humility is the virtue that effects that giving.

We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are an integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress, was another act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a woman who was pregnant as his wife, another act of extreme humility. The Holy Family was the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day .

 Isn’t God  amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave  surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Oh yeah, lest we forget, they also  made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.

If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself  and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, the most humble of all women ever, crushes the head of the evil serpent with her heel. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

"Peace on Earth" Humility is the Key and the Christ Child is the Answer

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Peace on earth? Where is it? Is it in Syria? How about Pakistan? It is not in Sudan or Iraq. It is definitely not hanging out in Afghanistan or Iran. Pakistan?—God help us. How about Russia and Ukraine and Ferguson, Missouri? What does “Peace on Earth” mean? Well my friends, it means exactly what it says: PEACE on EARTH. However, has there ever been Peace on Earth? From the beginning of the human race until today, I think not. We might ask, “and why not?”
The answer is actually simple and straightforward. True Peace on Earth can only come about by the destruction of the great demon, Pride. Yes, Pride destroys Peace. It also destroys love between people, within families, among friends and co-workers. How often does Pride bring forth its seedy companions of wrath and envy? Pride prompts murder and mayhem and wars. It has done so from time immemorial. It is probably the most destructive force on the planet and we all have it within us. How can so many of our species conquer this malignant force while others succumb to its devilish grasp? The answer is some people have what is called Humility.
How do we find our Humility? How can we kick the power of Pride to the curb? The answer came to us in the form of a newborn baby on Christmas and we celebrate that day in one week. Humility exploded on Christmas Day.  God Himself, the Creator of all that we have, including free-will, came to us and lived with us. Hey folks, this act was HUMILITY SUPREME. All we have to do is look into a pile  of straw at a newborn baby.  Therein lies our answer to finding Humility.
This story is so amazing that our simple common sense will tell us it was never fabricated or made up. The most creative writers who ever lived could not have conjured up such a preposterous tale. Imagine, a King being born in a smelly, dirty, animal stall to a simple teenage girl whose husband was a struggling carpenter with no money. Then the couple have to take the baby King and run for their lives because the reigning king, Herod, feared the baby might grow up and overthrow him. His Pride seizes him so he sends his soldiers to kill the baby King. They kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children in their heinous bloodletting yet never find the child they were looking for to begin with. 
As preposterous as this story may seem, more than two thousand years later more than two billion people still believe it. For over two millenium this belief has continued to transform the world. Millions upon millions of us will celebrate this miraculous birth a week from now. How can that be? 

It is due to that great intangible we call FAITH. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it and you cannot smell it. However, if you open yourself up to it, it can grab you in a life-long embrace that might take your breath away. Faith in God and all He has done is the greatest of all the gifts we will ever receive. It spawns kindness, and temperance and patience. And Faith breeds Humility. Humility will lead to love, true love of others, not ourselves. This is fact.
Peace without love is an illusion. It cannot exist. It can never come from our own agenda. That is because the deadly toxin, Pride, is inside us and Satan prowls the world dripping his venom into our hearts using Pride as the gateway “drug”. Many of us reject his “empty promises”. Many do not and their egos are commandeered so easily that they sometimes explode with hatred. 
This hatred is quite visible throughout the world today. Christianity is actually on the verge of being wiped out of the Middle East as Christians are being killed and tortured every day simply because they believe in this baby and who He grew up to be. The Good News is we have been given the antidote. It is Humility.
Our greatest of all gifts, FAITH, allows us to believe that God, the Creator of all that is, shared Himself with us through  His Son. To accomplish this He  humbled Himself in the most profound act of selflessness that was and will ever be. This was God become man for us. He came as a helpless, innocent newborn, barely able to grasp the finger of his Mom. He allowed himself to be born surrounded by the squalor and filth of a stable. Poor shepherds from the hillside were His first visitors. Humility lay in a pile of straw and looked up into the beautiful face of His weary Mom.
A few small pot fires provided enough light for the man of the family, Joseph, to see the two people that he had to care for and protect. No bells were ringing, no trumpets were blaring and no cymbals were smashing. The deafening quiet made this the greatest of Silent Nights.  Thirty-three years later, booming thunder would echo His death and three days after that brilliant sunshine would announce our redemption. It is the most beautiful of all truths.
FAITH is a gift that many people have seen fit to grab onto. They have responded to God’s graces and listened. They have grabbed the ‘brass ring’. There are many more who cannot escape the all-consuming Pride that keeps telling them they are so much smarter than all those ‘believers’. 

How sad this is because this Pride is Satan’s portal that will allow him to take them on a road that leads to complete misery dominated by an all-consuming hatred of anything that is Good. If only they would reach out and allow that little hand to squeeze their finger, just for a moment. It will not hurt one bit and they might find out that respecting and honoring Humility can do a person wonders. It could even lead to Peace on Earth.
During this Christmas Season let us all consider asking  for an extra dose of Humility and then pray for Peace on Earth and that Good Will be in ALL people, everywhere. 
                    &nbs
p;                         
                                   Copyright Larry Peterson 2014