Orthodox Talks – No. 38
Orthodox Talks in English - No. 38 - Pride and Vainglory: A Spiritual Cancer
Despite advances in medical science, occurrences of cancer are becoming increasingly frequent. Many live in fear of falling victim or losing a loved one to this disease. However, few give thought to a far worse disease, spiritual cancer: that of pride and vainglory. The saints of old did all they could to fight off the spiritual disease of pride and vainglory by avoiding praise and even hiding their gifts of miracle-working. Today's Christians, however, frequently choose not to fight against pride and vainglory or, are even unaware of them — in both cases with disastrous consequences.
Using the Holy Fathers as a guide, Father Kosmas explains the dangers of vainglory and pride in the spiritual life. He also uses examples from the lives of saints to emphasise their attitude towards miracle-working and other divine gifts, an attitude which for many would be very surprising.
The following questions are also discussed: where have all the altar boys gone? What is meant by pressuring God? Why did one elder beg God to allow him to become possessed? What is meant by 'a proud person has become a devil and his own enemy'? Can divine gifts be harmful for the soul? Is the Pentecostals' emphasis on earthly prosperity and health justified by the Gospel? What was the purpose of Saint Paul's sufferings? Do Christ's words "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works" lead to vainglory and pride? Is it beneficial to openly confess our sins and weaknesses to others?
Other topics covered in this talk include: overconfidence and unholy familiarity with God; why denying our natural gifts can be spiritually beneficial; obesity and holiness; why those who expose the passions are hated; how we should view those who praise us to our faces; the difference between the praise of demons and the praise of men; and the concept of "mad pride."
Talk Duration: 240 minutes
With the blessing of His Eminence Hilarion
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
The content of this talk does not necessarily
reflect the official position of ROCOR.