Like other places in the country, Minnesota has been pretty wet this spring and early summer. With each major rainfall, I’ve had streams of water coming into my basement.
My house is 106 years old and when it rains hard, water seeps in from the four corners. In one spot, there had been some kind of a pump which was later removed (I have no idea why.) and a concrete patch was placed over the spot.
Water comes in through the patch and pools there, so that I frequently have to sweep the water down to the drain. (I am going somewhere with this.)
A stream through the basement
Five minutes after I sweep, as much or more water collects in that spot so that I have to keep pushing it down to the drain. After an especially heavy rainfall last week, water continued to come up through that patch for a few days after the rain stopped.
It has mostly dried up but more rain is forecast this week.
I am looking for a permanent solution but for now I can be thankful that there has only been a couple inches of water in the deepest spots. Compared to what many others are dealing with, that’s not so bad.
This stream running through my basement (apparently there are actual underground streams throughout the neighborhood) made me think of a particular area of sin I struggle with.
Pride like rainwater coming in
Like the rainwater, pride seeps in, collects in my heart and swells my head. I sweep it out when I go to confession. I pray the Litany of Humility and I think things are drying out but then pride finds its way back in with each new rainstorm.
Confessing my pride and praying for greater humility are necessary steps in overcoming this sin. But just as sweeping out the water doesn’t keep more from coming in, I need to stop pride at its source.
In a sermon, St. Benedict said pursuing humility is like setting up a ladder. When we act humbly we go up and when we praise ourselves we go down. He identifies 12 steps going up the ladder toward heaven. Near the top it gets a little monk-oriented but I think lay people can benefit from it, too.
Charity pumps out pride
Ultimately, the pump that will keep out the water of pride is charity, as Cardinal Giovanni Bona wrote in the 17th century:
Pride is the root of every evil; charity, that of all goods. But you cannot plant the latter unless you have completely uprooted the former. Charity will teach you how to extirpate it, since it alone knows how to withstand the spirit of pride. You will be able to resist its spirit if you hide your virtues and show your defects. Then give much attention and consideration to the following as the source of the vice of pride: not to tolerate that others say of you what you willingly confess of yourself.