“Pride was not created for human beings, or violent anger for those born to women.”
One of my favorite episodes of comedy is one of the Sinefeld episodes. Jerry Sinefeld is with his friend Kramer, sitting over an operating theatre, watching an operation in a hospital. They are on a balcony looking down onto the operation in which a man is having something done to his abdominal cavity which has been opened up. Kramer, is, as usual being inappropriate by eating Junior Mints while watching the operation from above, when suddenly, in slow motion, one of his soft, chocolate-covered mint-cream candies flies from his hand, off the balcony and lands inside the patient’s open abdomen, unseen by doctors as they work.
I remember laughing so hard that it was hard to breathe.
When Sirach says that pride and violent anger were not made for humans, I am reminded of this Sinefeld episode because I do not believe that God placed in us pride and violent anger. They come from some other place, some other way and source. Like the Junior Mint inside the patient’s abdomen, pride and violent anger are not our nature. They were not part of our creation but are, rather, like cancer or gall stones – they are part of our being only as a disease or malformation.
It is not hard to see pride nor is it hard to miss violent anger – in ourselves or in others. They are foreign matter. And they have no place in the clergy. But like any illness, they can rise up from time to time. The key thing is to notice them, then ask the curious question: What is beneath my pride? What insecurities are down there? What losses? And what is beneath my violent anger? What do I need, that I am not getting, which makes me so angry? And how, in both cases, might I get what I need to be peaceful again?