Below are excerpts from a wonderful little book called “Humility of Heart” by Fr Cajetan Mary. Are you depressed when you fall into sin? It may be a pride issue.
What comes to mind are the moments when we berate ourselves for falling into sin. We should, in fact, experience sorrow when we sin against God because he is “all good and all deserving of all our love”. However, is the sorrow based on something other than love for God?
Let’s take a look at what Fr Cajetan has to say.
SHOULD WE BE DEPRESSED WHEN WE FALL INTO SIN?
Humility of Heart
“The sorrow we feel at having offended God does not distress the soul, but rather leaves it calm and serene, because it is a sorrow united to humility, which brings grace with it; but to be distressed and overwhelmed by sadness—–either from the shame we feel at having committed some disgraceful action, or from a sudden recognition of our liability to fall just when we thought ourselves stronger and more faithful than ever—–is simply pride, which is born of an excessive self-love.”
Why do we imagine we are stronger? Do we not understand that without God, we can do nothing, while at the same time we can do “all things through Christ, who strengthens us”?
WE HAVE TOO GOOD AN OPINION OF OURSELVES
“We have too good an opinion of ourselves, and this is the reason why we are disturbed when we see our reputation injured by others or diminished by our own actions. If I reflect well whenever I am distressed about my own faults, I shall find that my distress is only due to pride, which persuades me by the subtle artifice of self-love that I am better than the just themselves, of whom it is written: ” A just man shall fall seven times.” [Prov. xxiv, 16]Humility of Heart
Consider this example:
A certain parishioner is considered to be a good and saintly man. He is always temperate. He doesn’t drink or eat too much, speaks in soft tones and never loses his temper.
However, all changed last week, when he got into a loud argument with another parishioner. Everyone was shocked and made it clear that they were disappointed.
The man tossed and turned all night after the incident and was angry at himself for losing his temper. He felt depressed that he let God and everyone else down.
However, a few moments later he examined his feelings a little deeper. Was he angry at himself for disappointing God or was he angry that the saintly facade that took so many years to built, crumbled in a minute.
The Emperor has no clothes.
Once he realized where his true feelings of depression came from, he repented of his pride and thanked God for this reminder that he is no better than anyone else. Right before he went to sleep, he prayed the “Litany of Humility“.
When We Sin, We Should Experience Sorrow & Then Repent
HE WHO IS HUMBLE SOON REPENTS WITH SORROW
“He who is humble, even though he fall through frailty, soon repents with sorrow, and implores the Divine assistance to help him to amend; nor is he astonished at having fallen, because he knows that of himself he is only capable of evil, and would do far worse if God did not protect Him with His grace. After having sinned it is good to humble oneself before God, and without losing courage to remain in humility so as not to fall again, and to say with David: “I have been humbled, O Lord, exceedingly; quicken Thou me according to Thy word.” [Ps. cxviii, 107] But to afflict ourselves without measure, and to give way to a certain pusillanimous melancholy, which brings us to the verge of despair, is a temptation of pride, insinuated by the devil, of whom it is written, he is king “over all the children of pride.”Humility of Heart
When we sin, we should repent with sorrow at having offended God and of having been separated from him (in the case of mortal sin).
We should immediately ask for pardon, admit our wretchedness and ask God to help us.
So if you see yourself getting depressed because you keep falling into sin, consider that it might be your pride. Ask God to help you. “He, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.”