Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pride, Riches and Asceticism

Pride is often the sin that grabs us most unsuspectingly and leads to other sins. Today's Gospel - Mt. 19:23-30 recounts the rich young man who could not give up all he had (at least in that moment) in order to follow Christ - a sin of pride in his riches.

Here is a short excerpt from another blogger highlighting the importance of "asceticism" for not only monks, but for all of us seeking to respond to God with an outright "YES".
Asceticism is practiced through the will in prayer to God and for life. On account of the centrality of the will if anything is going to change for the better in our lives it is the sin of pride that must be dealt with first if further progress is to be made. Pride places ourselves where God should be. It replaces His rule for ours. It subverts our relationships with Him and others through all manners of self pre-occupation. In short, pride has to be killed. In abject poverty of spirit we need to come to God and "throw in the towel" as it were and surrender ourselves to Him. Then, and only then can we hope to make progress with the other sins.
Sin
Sin's Target
Ascetic Task
Fruit
Pride
Will
Surrender to God
Communion with God
Anger
Control
Humility
Reconciliation, Forgiveness
Envy
Relationships
Thanksgiving
Contentment with God's Gifts
Greed
Possessions
Offering
Attachment to God alone
Gluttony
Food
Fasting
Strengthened body and will to serve God
Lust
Sex
Chastity
Depth in relationships
Sloth
Energy
Work discipline
Human development
From: Antiochian Orthodox UK

Posted by Carlos Mirand

Finally, check out this thought about "camel passing through the eye of a needle". I have heard this from others, too, but I wish I had a stronger source:
Image source
For example, the phrase, “a camel through the eye of a needle” has a much deeper meaning than the obvious weird mental picture it conveys. In biblical times, the needle was the area around a city gate-a narrow place that was quite difficult for pack animals like camels to navigate. In order to pass through the needle, a camel had to kneel, and then his burdens had to be removed. What a beautiful picture of trusting in Christ: we must come humbly, and lay our burdens down. For the wealthy, this is often an insurmountable obstacle.