After months of putting it off, I finally went to confession the other day. Out of all the sins I mentioned, the priest (one whom I am quite familiar with and I find to be exceptionally wise and holy) was most concerned about me putting off confession. “Why’d you wait so long?” he asked.
It’s a question I’ve asked my patients. Patients with gaping wounds, patients with symptoms of a heart attack for over a week, patients with stroke-like symptoms for over 24 hours, patients who are clearly quite ill. “Why’d you wait so long?” I too have asked.
But I know their answer because I know my answer: pride.
“Pride comes before the fall,” as the Spanish proverb says. C.S. Lewis describes pride in Mere Christianity as such: “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” We all know an inflated sense of pride is unhealthy.
But what about the hidden prides in our life? The pride that makes me think I’m not that sinful? Or the pride that makes me think I know better than God? Or the pride that desires my needs before others? What about that pride?
It’s not for the gaping wound of pride but for the small cuts and scrapes of pride that I need to have regular check-ups with the Divine Physician. Every day, I desire to be liked and loved, which is a good and basic human desire.
But where I fall is that every day I find myself looking for that approval and affection in others instead of from the Father. I find myself placing devastating expectations on friends, family, and potential romantic partners when I barely allow myself to rely on the Father to satisfy me. I find myself looking for approval in the world for my actions instead of asking how the Father has called me to act.
And so I want to pass along what that great confessor prescribed for me: the Litany of Humility. It cuts through every prideful fiber in my heart, and I hope you can find it useful as well.