In our spiritual life, in every sphere of life, it’s easy to lose focus on what’s truly important. Most times, we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we live a virtuous life, when in fact we are so far from it. Because The devil does his best to keep us in the dark!
Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli, an Italian priest tried to get to the heart of the spiritual life. He explained in his spiritual classic, The Spiritual Fight which he thought was the most important single sin to purge from a person’s soul.
Fr. Scupoli explains how spiritual pride can be the most dangerous sin, because it prevents a soul from uniting with God. An individual with spiritual pride will suppose that he has made great progress therein, if he says many vocal prayers, hears many Masses … frequent many churches, [and] receive many communions.
Furthermore, they also believe that these actions have made them perfect and as a result of it, they desire to be treated with preference and placed above others; they are occupied to their own opinion, and stubborn in their own will; and blind to their own faults, they are always busy and diligent observers and critics of the deeds and words of others.
Unfortunately though, those with such spiritual pride gives to themselves a very high degree of perfection; and thus puffed up with pride and they pass judgment upon others, while a very extraordinary degree of the assisting grace of God is needed to convert themselves.
Fr. Scupoli went further to boldly say, that a sinner who accepts that he is a sinner is more easily converted and restored to God than the man who conceals himself under the cloak of seeming virtue.
This observation of Scupoli recalled to mind the Gospel story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
According to (Luke 18: 10-14), “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like this tax collector here, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted”.
Let us always remember the words of the psalmist in (Psalm 51:19), “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn”.