Religion & Spirituality:Spirituality
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter XXII: On Vainglory, Part III
One of the prophets writes: “the human heart is a treacherous thing, who can endure it!“ We begin to see the truth of this statement or more accurately the truth that is behind it. The spiritual battle that we engage in with our passions and our thoughts is often dogged by a kind of diabolical intrigue. The devil is relentless and unresting. He can manipulate us in such a way that he makes us desire to put ourselves forward, to put ourselves into the light; convincing us that to do so will draw people to greater faith.
The evil one acts with a kind of patience; he will begin to work on us slowly. He begins by making us enamored with our own natural gifts and abilities. In this way he makes us unfaithful in small things; we attribute natural gifts to ourselves rather than simply being grateful for the things of God has given to us. Such infidelity grows over the course of time as well as the complexity of the evil one’s manipulation. He can begin to work on us from multiple angles, if you will. He can place scripture in our mind to do battle with the temptation of one demon, but then make us feel proud of our ability to do so.
Therefore, St. John tells us that we must begin the road to freedom from vainglory by remaining silent about ourselves and our accomplishments. We must learn to love to be dishonored. To be a Christian in this world is to be mocked and held in contempt. We must set aside our tendency to wear a mask that makes us more acceptable in the eyes of the world. We may put on the appearance of virtue yet always within the limits of what our world finds acceptable.
Text of chat during the group:
It is Free