Saturday, November 26, 2011

Great Reflection on Vainglory

Vainglory is contagion that's spreading faster than swine flu hysteria!

This article is worthy of a full read but here are my favorite citations:

According to Aquinas, vainglory is a capital vice, meaning that it is a weakness that gives birth to many other vices. When our hearts are set on gaining the praise of men, we are likely to develop several other faults along the way.

Second, it is sinful to seek glory from people whose judgment is not sound...

For example, a parish catechist might pour her heart into her ministry partly because she loves the praise she receives from the pastor and her fellow parishioners for her good work.Similarly, Catholic parents might arrive at Mass early and train their kids to behave well during the liturgy, not just for the good of their children’s spiritual development, but also because they like the attention they receive (“What a beautiful Catholic family!”). To the extent that we do good deeds in order to draw attention to ourselves and not to God, to that extent we suffer from vainglory...

the hypocrite is more worried about giving the impression that he does good deeds than actually doing good deeds for their own sake...

The vain person also is more likely to fall into divisive actions in his attempt to show he is not inferior to others. Aquinas lists four such vices that breed divisiveness in one’s intellect, will, speech, and deeds. First is the intellectual vice of obstinacy: “by which a man is too much attached to his own opinion,” such that he is unwilling to accept another opinion that might be better. Second is a vice related to the will called discord, which is an unwillingness to give up one’s own will and concur with others. The third vice is related to speech and is called contention, whereby a man likes to be argumentative, or as Aquinas says, “quarrels noisily with another.” Fourth is disobedience: by which “a man refuses to carry out the command of his superiors.”[1] Each of these smaller vices flows from the capital vice of vainglory. They support a man’s vain drive to have others think that he is superior to others.

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