Not Proud, Just Grateful

I have a confession to make. I am not proud to be English; I am not proud to be Catholic; I’m not even proud to be a Benedictine; but I am supremely grateful to be all three. The current fashion for saying one is ‘proud’ to be this, that or the other leaves me cold. I’m never sure whether the being proud is an attempt to claim greatness by association or simply a way of saying politely ‘ya, boo and sucks to you!’ I daresay it can be both — and more. Pride and gratitude both arise from a deep sense of satisfaction, but with this difference: pride is centred on self and gratitude on the other; one looks inward, the other outwards. Could that be why the Christian tradition has never been very keen on pride but always loved gratitude? As our American friends say, go figure.


13 thoughts on “Not Proud, Just Grateful”

  1. Here in Ireland those from the southernmost counties ie province of Munster say “I am an Irishman by birth and a Munsterman by the grace of God!”

  2. A big amen to this – thanks for clarifying the uneasy feeling I have when people use the phrase ‘proud to be…’ Pride looks inwards, gratitude looks out – really helpful, thank you.

  3. I know that Pride is one of the deadly sins, so I try to avoid it.

    I think that your view of being grateful for things is something that I can ascribe to, particularly as it’s part of a prayer pattern of gratitude to God for his providence for us.

    When I was in the Army, we were encouraged to take pride in our appearance, in our teams and units and our record. Their is a huge regard and respect for history, our victories and defeats and for those who made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the country.

    I’m not ashamed of my military background. It was a part of my life for 43 years. I believe that I respected and continue to respect the military ethos of Values and Standards which puts service to others before yourself. The word pride should be replaced with respect or regard.

    I believe that respecting the past, while looking to the future has to be the way forward. Jesus’ witness was one of forward looking hope, not looking back in regret. Laying our sins and suffering at the foot of the cross and moving forward with him.

    • I definitely don’t think you should be ashamed of your military service, Ernie! There’s a difference between relishing the good things done by an ancestor or a regiment or a school and taking them to oneself. Taking pride in rather than being proud of doesn’t quite capture the difference . . . You are right, we need another kind of language to express them.

  4. Yes, I suppose there is pride and pride. There is the ‘pride’ referred to as one of the deadly sins, the over-the-top attention-seeking personal trait, and there is the ‘pride’ of having dutifully served one’s Queen & Country for much of one’s adult life, such as ‘UKviewer’ and myself. But we must not thereby imply that we are superior, or more important, or of better quality for having done so. (And I do realise UKviewer is not suggesting any superiority) There are some others who may well have served in the military with equal merit but were not quite medically fit to do so or many others who have followed different careers with distinction and thereby served their country and fellow men equally well in other ways.

    We do need a word to distinguish ‘sinful’ pride from ‘honorable’ pride: ‘respect’ or ‘regard’ has been suggested in the previous message. Are there any further suggestions of alternative suitable words ?

    [PS Would I know “UKviewer” also under the nom-de-plume of “minidvr” ?]

    Sqn Ldr Alan Birt

  5. You’re bringing up an interesting point, Sister.
    I am both a French and a US citizen, and Catholic… Nobody’s perfect…
    I feel grateful to be alive and well, with family and friends. I am delighted (and grateful too) to have lived in different countries, to have met different people, and discovered various cultures. These experiences make me feel I belong to the world, rather than to one country. In fact, I feel more European than French, really. To be European offers a broader horizon… As to being a US citizen, it fills me with delight. I’d never have guessed when I was a teenager that one day, I’d be ‘American.’
    Life is so full of incredible surprises!

    • Thank you, Claire. A very perceptive friend commented of her son, who has dual French and British nationality, that belonging to both meant one belonged to neither. I hope that isn’t true, that one belongs to both, as well as being a citizen of the world.

  6. French of course has two words for pride – orgueil, for the sin, and fierté for various human manifestations. Fier is a much more flexible and interesting word than orgueilleux. It asks to be translated in many ways, from ‘arrogance’ to ‘self-respect,’ ‘proper pride’. And of course it can be descriptive: used of a horse it is definitely a compliment.

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