Reflections on Love and Pride in Lent


To all my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, a Blessed and Deeply Reflective and Repentant Lent.Above all we should reflect on God’s love for us, and the nature and extent of all love here on earth among us mortals in the course of our Salvation.Without the three species of love, the world is a desolate place indeed. But Agape, Philios, and Eros are not and have never been equal or easy to understand and relate to one another.

During Lent we should all reflect deeply on the things inside us that destroy and build up love of all types, but especially Agape, the love and charity of God Himself towards us all.

Pride is considered one of the seven deadly sins, for example, but is loving Pride sinful or Godly? 

And how can parental pride in their children or a child’s or a group.of children’s pride in his or her parents be considered as anything other than an expression of love?

Pride is love, but it is obviously neither eros nor philios, although it is certainly in some contexts similar to and compatible with brotherly love, and the pride of a man in his beautiful wife or of a woman in her successful husband is equally compatible with eros, and seems virtuous in all ways rather than sinful.

I simply cannot accept that all pride is sinful.  In her song, the Magnigicat, the Blessed Virgin Mary articulates a series of emotions which can only be called pride, pride in the Glory of God, pride in God’s justice, pride in her own inheritance as a daughter of Abraham, and pride above all in her unique and special relationship with God and her unique and special role in His plans for the salvation of the world.  I think it is fair to say that Mary’s expresdions of pride are filled with Agape, the love and charity of God. 

Pride is an issue for many of us in America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa as we confront the demands of the Church of England and its Anglican Commmunion and Episcopal affiliates abroad that we apologize for our own Christian parents, grandparents, and ancestors for their sins, real and imaginary, such as Slavery, Segregation, or belief in the righteousness of White Supremacy.

I, for one, refuse to believe that family pride is sinful, or that the extended family pride we might call pride in our bilogical, constitutional, cultural, ethnic, legal, national, political, racial, or social heritage is sinful either.

I suggest that deeper study and understanding of history are critical to the analysis and comprehension of all the elements of our heritage.  Historical study and reflection seems like a good appropriately reflective and potentially penitential activity which might constitute a good sacrifice of time for Lent.

Bishop Morris K. Thompson in his Ash Wednesday homily yesterday (March 5, 2014) suggested that such a sacrifice of reflective time was a much more appropriate item to dedicate one’s demonstration of commitment to Lent than giving up chocolates or candy bonbons.  

I believe that there is room for both Godly love and Godly pride in Lent, and that we can and should love our families, both near and far. It was with great happiness and pride, for example, that I followed the example of Saint Paul in addressing this letter to my “Brothers and Sisters in Christ.” 

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