The greatest obstacle to the Love of God is pride. Pride is an excessive desire for our own excellence; whereas, charity seeks out, and desires, God as the supreme Object of our lives. Pride is wrapped up in self; whereas, charity fixes the mind, heart and will on God. Pride is directly opposed to the first commandment, and therefore, pride is therefore the greatest sin of all.
Pride is the tendency to make our ego, rather than Christ, the center of our lives. That’s why our Lord demanded self-denial as the first characteristic of His followers. In a certain sense, the only penance we need is the denial of that part of ourselves which is contrary to the law and love of God.
Pride is actually a king of false religion, for it places the idol of self where the image of God should be. It is an exaggerated worship of self, for it makes one’s own self the beginning and end, instead of God. It causes us to make headlines of the good we do, and it buries our defeats and failures. It causes us to cut down the good others are doing lest they detract from our imagined excellence.
Pride closes its ears to objective criticism and suggestion, but opens them for the applause it ever seeks. It closes its eyes to virtues that are very obviously—to everyone else—lacking, yet pride calls attention to the very least accomplishment. Worst of all, it can make us lead lives for our own sake and not for God. It is truly a false worship of self.
Pride can turn us into thieves because it steals the glory that belongs to God alone. In the providential ordering of our lives everything is ultimately directed to the Glory of God. But the proud man thinks he is so important that God could not possibly exclude him from the vision of Heaven. He thinks he can save his soul without true denial, and storm Heaven without true hope. He has forgotten that God must be in his heart before he can be in Heaven.
Finally, pride makes a cancer of a cell in the Mystical Body of Christ. A cancerous cell is a self-willed runaway, living for itself, refusing to work with the healthy cells of the body, and damaging the body itself.
Is it any wonder that God resists the proud man? God cannot help the proud man, for he is beyond helping—that is, until he sees and experiences his need for God. His conversion will begin when he prays, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.” And so will ours.