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John Climacus: “the custody of the mouth and love of being dishonored”

30 September 2016

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“There is a glory that comes from the Lord, for He says: Those who glorify Me, I will glorify. And there is a glory that dogs us through diabolic intrigue, for it is said: Woe, when all men shall speak well of you. You may be sure that it is the first kind of glory when you regard it as harmful and avoid it in every possible way, and hide your manner of life wherever you go. But the other you will know when you do something, however trifling, hoping that you will be observed by men.
Abominable vainglory suggests that we should pretend to have some virtue that we do not possess, spurring us on by the text: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.
The Lord often brings the vainglorious to a state of humility through the dishonor that befalls them.
The beginning of the conquest of vainglory is the custody of the mouth and love of being dishonored; the middle stage is a beating back of all known acts of vainglory; and the end (if there is an end to an abyss) consists in trying to behave in the presence of others so that we are humbled without feeling it.
Do not hide your sins with the idea of removing a cause of stumbling from your neighbor; although perhaps it will not be advisable to use this remedy in every case, but it will depend on the nature of one’s sins.”

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

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