Thursday, 27 October 2005


The passion of vainglory is the desire for the glory that comes from men.

Vainglory is the desire for honours and glories. It is the desire to be seen by others to be doing the right thing—even when you are doing the right thing. It is the desire to be seen on television. It is the desire for status, even the status of a halo within the Church. It is the motivation of the ‘saint’ who has no love for man but only a wish to be seen and officially recognized as a saint.

Vainglory wants to be chief not for power but to be seen to be first. It wants the Nobel Peace Prize.

Vainglory brings in its train all the other passions.

Vainglory is the beginning of pride and pride the end of vainglory. The difference between them is that vainglory seeks for honours while pride seeks for power. Vainglory isn’t so interested in power; it just wants to be seen as the most powerful. Pride isn’t so interested in being seen as the most powerful (sometimes it is quite happy to hide) as in being the most powerful. However, the end of vainglory is pride, and the beginning of pride is vainglory.

Vainglory is the passion that boasts about having conquered all the other passions. A monk motivated by vainglory conquers all the other passions and seems to be an accomplished ascetic, but he has merely been hoodwinked by vainglory: he is very far away from the goal of asceticism, which is virtue, and very far from the daughter of asceticism, which is spiritual love. Lay people who engage in asceticism in the world motivated by vainglory find that when they enter the monastic life where no one can see them, then they lose all the ‘progress’ they had in the world before they entered the monastery.

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