A Year with the Saints – 25 July


May God keep us from vain praise, flattery, and everything intended to attract the goodwill and protection of others. These are very low motives and far from the spirit of Jesus Christ, whose love ought to be the principal aim of all we do. Let these, then, be our maxims: To do much for the love of God, and not care at all for the esteem of men; to labor for their salvation, and not concern ourselves as to what they say of us. – Saint Vincent de Paul

This Saint, though very courteous to all, never flattered anyone, saying that there was nothing so despicable and unworthy of a Christian heart and nothing more abhorred by spiritual persons than flattery. On the contrary, he refrained from praising people in their presence, except when he judged it necessary to confirm them in some good thing which they had begun, or to encourage the weak. He neither did himself, nor permitted his priests to do, anything to acquire the favor and protection of others; and so, in answering a letter written by one of them, he speaks thus:

“I am pleased to hear that you have gained the friendship of those persons whom you mention, but not with the purpose for which you say that you did it; that is, that they might protect and defend you on occasion. Ah, your motive is very low, and very far from the spirit of Jesus Christ, whose love should be our aim in all we do. Now you, on the contrary, are thinking of your own interests, and wish to employ the friendship and goodwill of these persons to secure your reputation. But if this reputation be not founded on truth, it is surely a vain thing; and if it be, what cause have you to fear? Remember that duplicity does not please God; and that to be truly simple, we ought to have no other end than to please Him alone.”

MLA Citation