Welcome, once again, to Maxim Monday. This week we hear Fr. Thomas Hopko tell us:
Don’t seek or expect praise from anyone or pity from anyone. I and my friend Paul Lazar used to call it the “PP.” No praise. No pity. We always want to have people to think: “Oh, how wonderful you are” or to say “Oh my, how hard you work or how much you suffer.” We seek to flee the pity and flee the praise of others.From Fr. Thomas’ podcast on the 55 Maxims.
I will be honest with you, this is one that I really truly need to work on. I became aware quite some time ago and continue to make work on it little by little. I think my saving grace for this is that I hate to have attention drawn to me. If that weren’t on the front of my brain I think my desire to seek praise would probably be all the worse. So I am grateful for this grace and continue to work at not seeking praise or pity.
I have found some wonderful quotes from the Holy Fathers of the church that are related to this topic.
Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive for which they are done. For example, fasting and vigils, prayer and psalmody, acts of charity and hospitality are by nature good, but when performed for the sake of self-esteem they are not good.+ St. Maximos the Confessor
These eight passions should be destroyed as follows: gluttony by self-control; unchastity by desire for God and longing for the blessings held in store; avarice by compassion for the poor; anger by goodwill and love for all men; worldly dejection by spiritual joy; listlessness by patience, perseverance and offering thanks to God; self-esteem by doing good in secret and by praying constantly with a contrite heart; and pride by not judging or despising anyone in the manner of the boastful Pharisee (cf. Luke 18 : 11–12), and by considering oneself the least of all men. When the intellect has been freed in this way from the passions we have described and been raised up to God, it will henceforth live the life of blessedness, receiving the pledge of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 1 : 22). And when it departs this life, dispassionate and full of true knowledge, it will stand before the light of the Holy Trinity and with the divine angels will shine in glory through all eternity.+ St. John Damascene, “On the Virtues and the Vices”. Bolded is my emphasis.
May we steer clear of seeking praise and pity and serve our Lord and Savior because we love Him above all else.
Have a blessed week!