Most of you are aware of the dangers of pride. Yes, it is a sin and the root of all evil. But perhaps some of you do not know that it is also the most terrifying of all sins? Here is why... One who catches himself in pride is likely to attempt to respond with humility, and will thus lose self confidence, confidence in God's mercy, and in some measure the ability of discernment. It is true that humility is the opposite of pride, but the proper combatant of pride is Faith. Allow me to explain...
As a young pre-teen I struggled majorly with pride. Why? Because at that young age I liked nothing better than to offer advice, and my motives in doing so were mixed: I liked people and wanted people to like me. It wasn't long before I also discovered that my endeavors to enter the convent were also of a rather selfish origin... do I really love God? Am I really seeking to do the right thing? When I realized this, I distrusted myself. Naturally, my first attempt to combat this new discovery was to admit my faults and put myself down, saying that I don't deserve to speak on God's behalf and so on. That's humility, right? Wrong... what I was doing was merely compensating and redirecting my weaknesses, which really needed to be cured.
It took a very long time for me to discover something I had obviously overlooked: I could not control my own emotions and desires because they are the fruits of will, not will itself. This is when I realized that the real weapon for combating pride is faith. This is faith that if we do and want what God wants, we will grow in goodness and peace. What peace this discovery brought to my mind! By saying "Lord, I want what You want" and "Lord, I truly love You" and "Lord, I'm doing this for You and not for myself," I was substituting my weak and sinful person with an act of a sincere will to be good. By thus offering our weaknesses to God, and trusting Him with faith that He will hear our requests for goodness, we are overcoming pride.
But you say, where does the pride go? It is converted to humility. You see, God is our Resource... and pride is a lack of understanding this. If we are asking God to make us good, with faith that He will see our efforts and will to do right and have pity on us, then we are substituting our own strength over our beings with His.
Why do I speak of pride? Do I believe that those reading my post are dreadful sinners? The answer is no... but I realize that people who are discerning a religious vocation are often victims of this disease. I had never heard of faith as a combatant of pride... if I hadn't recognized it in the lives of the saints, I would still be suffering from it. I will not say that pride is gone from my person, but I will say that it is no longer a torment. When you are seeking your vocation, it is almost certain that some of your motives will be impure... but it is faith, not willful humility, that will draw you out of the snares of pride. We are purified through suffering and temptations... and without faith, we do not outlive this purification. With faith, we not only outlive it, but we embrace it and are purified. Our motives become pure, our humility complete, and all our emotions, hopes, and dreams are redirected at God Himself.