Friday, 30 November 2012

Saint Theophan The Recluse-Do Not Wish Other People to Know Your Good Deeds

Saint Theophan the Recluse. "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year".

 

  [Gal. 2:6-10; Mark 5:22-24, 35-6:1] Having resurrected the daughter of Jairus, the Lord charged her parents straitly, that no man should know it. Thus are we commanded: do not seek glory, and do not train your ear for human praises, even if your deeds are of such a nature that it is impossible to hide them. Do what the fear of God and your conscience urge you to do, and behave as though such talk did not exist. Look after your soul—as soon as it inclines the slightest degree in this direction, return it to its place. A desire for people to know is provoked by a desire for praise. When there is praise the goal is achieved; but this undermines one’s energy and suppresses the praiseworthy activity, and consequently suppresses the continuation of praise. Thus, one who wants people to know of his good deeds is his own betrayer. It is a good thing for people to praise what is good—for why wouldn’t someone praise what is good? But do not keep this in your thoughts; do not expect it and do not seek it. Indulge yourself in this and you will be totally spoiled. One indulgence leads to another. Increasing the frequency of the same deeds turns them into a habit, and you will be a lover of praise. When you come to that point, then not all of your deeds will be praiseworthy, and praise will cease. Because you lack praise from others, you will begin to praise yourself, and this is what the Lord called sounding a trumpet before oneself. This is even worse. The soul then becomes petty, and chases solely after tinsel. Do not expect true good to come from such a soul.

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