(The Dark Night, book I: chapter 2)
"He then addressed this parable to those
who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else. 'Two people went
up to the temple area to pray; one was a
Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke
this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you
that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy,
dishonest, adulterous--or even like this
tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I
pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax
collector stood off at a distance and would
not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat
his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful
to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went
home justified, not the former; for everyone
who exalts himself will be humbled, and the
one who humbles himself will be exalted.'"
The Fall of Pride
The fervor of the beginner
Will sometimes build a false pretense
Of self as saint and not sinner
Pride in disguise forms a defense.
This pride boasts of the heights of
Jewels of false virtues adorn.
Should someone disprove, if they dare,
They soon face pride's disdain and
Assuming self to be advanced,
Signs of weakness are swept away
With ev'ry fall, her hope is lanced
Faith is lost in the disarray.
But God, in His wisdom, who drew
Fresh springs in barren desert stone,
Can form humility anew --
To help her prostrate at His throne.
She seeks to serve Him silently --
Her faults are foremost in her mind;
She suffers each fall patiently,
Knowing the Lord will lead the blind.
She learns to seek the lowly place;
Hiding in Him draws down His grace.
May the Spirit lead us in the ways
so that He may dwell with us in Truth.
3. Luke 18:9-14
(c) Paul Buis, 2004