I suspect that we have all experienced shame for some of the things we have done in our lives. Shame, like embarrassment, is to be distinguished from guilt or sorrow for sin. Shame is primarily self-focused, whereas guilt typically incorporates those we have sinned against. And although shame and embarrassment seem to be the opposite of pride, they are really only possible because of pride. This connection between pride and shame is one epitomized in those castigated by the Lord (in our first reading) when he tells them that they will be utterly silenced for shame when I pardon you for all you have done. Here are people whose pride awakens not gratitude for pardon received, but shame and humiliation at being in the inferior position of needing mercy and forgiveness. In more extreme instances, pride instills a stubborn and self-destructive refusal to seek forgiveness, and to prefer death-dealing alienation from God and one another. Through the intercession of Saint Jane Frances, may we be granted a humility that will shield us from this dangerous pride-driven shame that renders our hearts closed to mercy. forgiveness, and love.