by Catherine Doherty.
Lady Pride was born proud. She never remembered a time when she had not been filled with an overwhelming admiration for herself.
She passed through the ages with the arrogance of people who are sure that they are better, more clever, and in every way superior to others. Tall and stately, she held her beautiful head very high as she walked slowly, majestically across the centuries.
While Lady Pride influenced all, she did not bother to deal with each person to the same degree. She chose her select company very carefully. If she liked someone she would come and stay with that person for an extended time, and everyone would soon notice her influence. People imitated her remarkably well.
They, like her, became cold, aloof and unapproachable, behaving as if they were set apart somehow above the common lot of humans.
Despite her disposition, Lady Pride was quite beautiful, with features that could be called classical. Yet, people, by and large, were afraid of her and her beauty, for there was something about her that was evil, dark, and sinister. She reminded them of deep, still, stagnant waters, greenish in color, which cannot sustain life.
All living things die in such waters, which then create desolate landscapes. Gray, lifeless trees lift their leafless arms to heaven as if crying out of some strange depths. Shores, covered only with sand and rocks, are bereft of flowers and grass. Water flowers refuse to take root. Such waters are dead and frightening.
While scenes such as these came to mind whenever people saw Lady Pride pass by, yet they also knew that she often showered her gifts upon her friends. Gold and silver seemed to be hers to give. Power followed in her wake, a slave to her whims. But it was a darksome power, which only served her and her friends.
Lady Pride often recalled her many conquests, but she took special pride in one event. It had happened long, long ago, perhaps on or near the day she was born, although she could not remember ever having been young, on that day or any other, for she had been born mature.
It had been an extraordinary day, for it was the day on which God—He who is—had revealed his secret to the angels. They were enthralled with his revelation, and remained very still in awe.
Lady Pride had not heard the secret, but she saw one beautiful spirit frown, one who seemed to be all light. He was so beautiful that she desired to be with him forever. She walked softly over to him and whispered to him that, whatever the secret was, it was not for him—for she saw he did not like what he heard.
Why should he accept it? He was, she convinced him, as great as God himself.
The angel of light turned, saw her, and believed what she said.
Then, rising to an immense height, he shouted, for all to hear, the motto of Pride: "Non serviam: I will not serve!" Many of the lesser angels joined him after they too had looked at Lady Pride.
And there ensued a battle that rocked the heavens. Lady Pride put aside her dignity and joined in the battle on the side of Lucifer, the Angel of Light.
Suddenly in the midst of the battle she stood still, as she beheld an awesome, frightening occurrence. Light was leaving the angel of light, and darkness was entering into him. Now his appearance was deadly, a travesty of all beauty. Contact with him spelled death forever.
Immediately, Lucifer and his armies fell down, down into depths that Lady Pride never knew existed. She followed, but she could not remain in hell, since she was earthly as well as hellish.
As centuries rolled on, Lady Pride would go back to hell now and then for a visit. Satan still fascinated her. She allowed herself to be used by him whenever he wished. Perhaps that is another reason why people were afraid of her. Who can tell?
Maybe, too, people remembered Lady Pride’s part in the fall of their first parents. Naturally, she also was there in the garden, with the snake. It seemed as if her sole purpose of existence was to extend the awful domain of the angel of light who had now become the Prince of Darkness.
One starry night, Lady Pride was walking in her slow, majestic fashion, pausing now and then to admire her own reflection in the various lakes, rivers and pools that dotted her way.
She found herself on the outskirts of a small village, the entrance to which was but a narrow path. On both sides of the path were caves, dug into the sandy rock which covered the countryside.
One cave especially attracted her attention for it cast a blinding light onto the path.
A great star hovered low over the roof of the cave, nearly touching it. Lady Pride approached, pausing occasionally as if afraid to get too close.
At the entrance to the cave was an old stable door that had lots of chinks and holes. The cave was apparently used only for housing animals. Lady Pride was strangely troubled and, for once, unsure of herself. She slowly pushed opened the door, not really expecting to see anyone.
To her surprise, she saw a woman holding a Child in her arms, and a man kneeling, in seeming adoration of the Child. The man moved quickly toward the door, as if to bar the way, but the woman shook her head gently, and he stopped.
Lady Pride entered and gently closed the door behind her. The woman, a mere child herself, seemed to grow taller and more mature as she held up the Child and sang this song of praise:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because he has looked upon his lowly servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed… (Lk 1:46-48).
Lady Pride fell on her knees. Instinctively she knew that this was the sight God had shown the angels on the day she was born.
She had not seen it then. She had only seen the frown of Lucifer, the Prince of Pride. It was this Child she had counseled him not to serve!
With her head in the straw which littered the floor, Lady Pride wept. She wept bitter, scalding tears of sorrow and compunction.
She wished she were dead. She wished she had never been born.
She wished she had never seen Lucifer or spoken to him. The enormity of her offense stood out so clearly that she was blinded by the sight.
But the Lady with the Child was smiling again. And, though Lady Pride did not hear any words spoken, she knew that she had been forgiven, and that henceforth she would never be the same. She had beheld with her own eyes the fullness of Truth incarnate, God made flesh, God and his Mother!
And that is how Lady Pride became humble. Today she takes pride only in the works of God, especially those wonders of grace he accomplishes in the hearts of people.
Lucifer wept too, but with anger. He picked up Haughtiness, which Lady Pride had left on the straw of the cave, and made it his own.
Thus it is that today, when people see a cold and haughty beauty walking the earth—one who puts on great arrogance and an insufferable pride—they see a ghostly reflection of the heart of Lucifer, the angel of light who became the Prince of Darkness.
—Reprinted from Not Without Parables, (1989), pp. 167-171, available from MH Publications
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