Praised be Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother Mary! On this the Fourth Sunday in Lent I would like to begin a series on the seven deadly sins or the seven capital sins. They are called thus because all of the other sins are derived from them.
The Third Mass Preface of Lent expresses to God Our Lord the spirit we are to have as we “climb the holy mountain” towards Easter:
You ask us to express our thanks by self-denial.
We are to master our sinfulness and conquer our pride.
We are to show to those in need your goodness to our selves.
The very real presence of the Devil and the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust) active in our world, are something to examine especially at this time of year. We should seek to eradicate them from our lives and let the goodness of Almighty God shine forth. I hope to present all seven over the next few weeks; and likely into the Easter Season. I have taken great encouragement for this exposition from Fr. Robert Barron’s CD “Seven Deadly Sins / Seven Lively Virtues.” If any of this echoes his presentation, I give him the credit!
Pride is the root of all sin which paves the road for all the others. It is the sin of Adam and Eve; the Original Sin. As we heard in the reading from Genesis on the First Sunday of Lent, at the prompting of the serpent, our first parents bought into the lie that they could be something greater than they were. They were lured into believing that they could be like God; even possibly being “competition” for Him. It was and always is a disordered desire to excel; a self-centered desire and not one of wanting to share in God’s power to be only good and do only good, but to have selfish advantage or power and control over others, which is evil.
Psychology tells us that whether one feels either inferior or superior to others, both are inferiority complexes. The former makes itself obvious, while in the latter, arrogance masks deep-down fears of inadequacy. To look at ourselves as somehow superior to others can be a very real temptation. When we are prideful, we want to be the center of our own destiny, rather than let God be the One who is Lord of all things, and seeing all others in His light.
“When man isolates self from God and the rest of humanity and makes self absolute or central, either ignoring all others or using them solely towards the achievement of his own private ends, he has the vice of pride. At the root of all such sins there is an exaggerated love and concern for self that clouds one’s knowledge and appreciation of the true self and the corresponding worth of others.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
To one degree or another, this sin exists in all of us; and typically in very subtle ways. Some examples of pride can even parade themselves as virtues. i.e.: when one is given a (well deserved) compliment, and in response puts him/herself down (false humility), rather than graciously say, “Thank-you,” while explicitly or implicitly giving God the credit and glory for the gifts required to achieve whatever was accomplished.
“Scrupulous” individuals suffer from a variety of pride that does not allow God to be all merciful: in essence saying, “God is not powerful enough to forgive me or cover for my inadequacies and failings.” The scrupulous says his unworthiness is larger than God. No matter how we think or feel, God is much greater than even the worst sin we can commit.
“Presumptuous” individuals exhibit the opposite attitude: acting as if that no matter what I do, God is going to forgive me. That everything I do (no matter how intrinsically evil) is justifiable and OK. The presumptuous person, in essence, “tells” God how to be God; can flaunt the laws of God and the Church, and legitimate authority. This is often manifested in what can be called the “…but I’m a good person…” syndrome; “God has to forgive me because I am wonderful.” An egotistical attitude like that can be detrimental to one’s eternal salvation.
Some other everyday examples of the sin of pride: self-absorption and vanity; easily taking offense; reaction to criticism and over-sensitivity; the craving for attention, adulation, and praise; having to have it “my way’; not taking legitimate praise (for the gifts that come from God working in you); not admitting mistakes; always talking about yourself/your children/grandchildren/your interests… and not really listening to others; being judgmental… the list goes on. We each have our particular “brands” of pride.
Yet, we have the capability to become something greater than we are only through the humble, obedient love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary said to the angel, “Let it be done unto me according to thy Word.” May our attitude be the same through her prayers, so that we too may make God #1 and share His Life in heaven.
Confirmation: On Tuesday March 25th our second group of confirmation students made their retreat at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington. I was so impressed with the spiritual formation our confirmation students have received. They were able to participate in Holy Mass and the sacrament of confession was available for them. Thank you to Brother Joseph Bellizzi, S.M., Mrs. Shannon and all the teachers and aides. Thank you to Mr. Anthony Bellizzi (the brother of Brother Joe) who was our presenter during the retreats. Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to our students on May 10th. A group of adults will be confirmed in our parish on Pentecost Sunday June 8th.
St. Paul Preschool: As everyone is aware our parish is blessed to have a Preschool. Children 30 months and older attend our wonderful Pre-School. What a consolation that several generations of parishioners have been educated in our Pre-School and it is nice to see parents who are alumni of the Preschool putting their own children into the Preschool. I would encourage all the parents in our parish to visit the Preschool and see the fine programs offered there. From such a tender age the children are raised in the faith and I have been so moved to visit the classrooms and to hear the children saying all their prayers so well. Thank you Mrs. Crimarco, Mrs. Oliva, and all the teachers and assistants. Our parish Pre-School is a little family that reflects the parish in a wonderful way.
First Friday and First Saturday: Friday of this week is the First Friday of the month. There will be adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel beginning at 12 noon and continuing until 7.00pm. (Please note the time change from the usual 8.00pm). The Stations of the Cross followed by Benediction will be prayed on Friday and all the Fridays of Lent at 7.30pm. Saturday of this week is the First Saturday. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 9.00am in the chapel followed by the Anointing of the Sick and the Holy Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.
Lenten Holy Hour: On each of the remaining Wednesdays of Lent there will be Holy Hour in the Chapel from 7.30pm until 8.30pm. During the Holy Hour mediation will be given.
Crucifix: St. Paul’s is in need of a Crucifix that will be solemnly carried in procession on Good Friday. It is this Cross that all the faithful will venerate on that Day of Grace. Behold the Wood of the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World…Come let us Worship. If any parishioner would like to give the Cross as an offering to the Church in memory of a loved one please speak with me. The Cross will be kept in the Chapel during the remainder of the year. May God bless and reward all of you.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda