January 21

This same thing happens to those who practice virtue in order to be praised by others. While they are called to be citizens of heaven, they “degrade their glory to the dust” (Psalm 7:5), and make their dwelling there, thus drawing upon themselves the curse of the Psalmist. For their prayer does not rise to heaven, and their every endeavor falls to earth, since it is not supported by the wings of divine love that raise aloft the works we do upon the earth….

This passion is the subtlest of all the passions, and for this reason the person who fights against it must not merely be on guard against coupling with it or avoid assenting to it, but he must regard the very provocation as assent and must shield himself from it….

Yet even before this the passion for popularity brings such injury upon those it masters that it shipwrecks faith itself (cf. 1 Timothy 1:19). Our Lord confirms this when He says, “How can you have faith in Me when you receive honor from one another and do not seek for the honor that comes from the only God?” (cf. John 5:44).

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.308)

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