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KASEY JORDAN: Pride, Despair and Stopping the Cycle
Kasey Jordan - column
Kasey Jordan

Pride is a funny thing. On the outset, this vice can appear to not be as deadly as some of its fellow vices- envy, lust, greed, etc. But this tricky vice is one of the most condemned vices by Jesus, as he called the Pharisees—men who were quite proud of their status and position—a “brood of vipers” in Matthew 12:34. Pride, in fact, is probably the ugliest and most dangerous vice of all.

The additional irony in pride is that as you seek to rid yourself of this nasty vice, you may feel tempted to be proud of the fact that you are less prideful, thus setting yourself right back up in pride. Ah, that seems nearly impossible, doesn’t it?

I recently started to see the pride in my life in a slightly different way. As I have shared before, I have had much joy in my life over the past year as I have spent time with God in prayer with a morning walk each day. This has become the foundation of my day and while I still fail sometimes, I am grateful for the spiritual nourishment God has provided me with.

But one day, after I spent this time with God, I walked in the house and got to work—feeding my baby, catching up on work emails and attempting to keep the kitchen not as dirty as it was before. I proceeded through my day and then realized that I had left God on my morning prayer walk, and then put the rest of my day in my own hands. How could I spend that sweet time with God and then forget Him and my need for Him the rest of the day?

The saint Maximilian Kolbe had a practice called Spiritual Communion. In this prayer, Kolbe would acknowledge his love of Jesus and the fact that he could not receive Jesus in the Eucharist at that moment. He then asked Jesus to enter him spiritually until he could receive Him in Holy Communion again. Kolbe prayed this prayer every 15 minutes. No wonder, when Kolbe

had the chance to save someone’s life by offering his own in the Auschwitz concentration camp, he was able to do so—laying down his life was a way of life for him.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe lived in a way that didn’t allow the vice of pride to grow, acknowledging his moment by moment need of Jesus. In our culture, self-reliance is a celebrated character trait, yet the number of people struggling with anxiety and depression seems to grow daily. Deep in our soul, we know we cannot do it on our own. We ride a roller coaster of emotions, going from the highs of pride when we have success, to the lows of despair when we realize again that we don’t have it together like we thought we did.

Only in constantly coming to Jesus, asking him to guide us, can we escape this hopeless cycle. In complete humility, I have to admit that I continue to fail at the endeavor. I have started setting a timer on my watch that reminds me to offer a prayer of Spiritual Communion and a prayer for a loved one regularly throughout the day. After doing this for several days, I thought I was getting the hang of it until I forgot to set my timer one morning and went the entire day without remembering that I had not prayed. How was that possible?

Yet even this seeming failure assures me that I am truly in need of Jesus. I cannot do it on my own and I am in desperate need of Him. There is such freedom in admitting this and in functioning in complete dependence on God–and technology. So as my wrist vibrates with my reminder of prayer, I thank my God that He loves me in my weakness and that I don’t have to be a slave to my pride. I need Him; He loves me; and my self worth comes from Him, not my fleeting emotions or the approval of others. In a world that often leaves us in feelings of failure and despair, how graceful I am to trade that in for intimacy and peace with my loving Father.

Kasey Jordan is a former missionary and lives in Monticello.