Vanity

In these excerpts from Groundwork of the Christian Virtues, Archbishop Ullathorne examines the connection between pride and vanity:

“If we compare pride in its elation to a dark, swelling wave, vanity is the foam upon its surface. If we compare pride to a soul-destroying fire, vanity is the smoke that flies out of it. . . . The word vanity sounds of things hollow, shallow, and trifling; but that is no trifle which makes the soul light and trivial and unrobes her of her dignity.”

“The vain man has such an image of his perfection before his eyes that, when you point out his failings, he cannot recognise them as belonging to that image. Give a much-needed advice, especially intended for him, and if there are fifty persons present he will applaud its wisdom and see its application to everyone but himself. Give him the same advice in private, and whatever be the wisdom and authority of the adviser, and however kind and gentle the admonition, it wounds him to the quick that anyone should think of him that of which he is so utterly unconscious, although everybody sees it but himself. There is no armour so impenetrable to advice as the chain-mail of vanity.”

“Our converse with our fellow-creatures is too often a comedy of vanity, vainglory, or pride. For more characters are acted on the stage of the world than on the stage of the theatre. It is more difficult to be simple before man than before God; yet even before God how much there is in many souls that come before Him which is far from simplicity and near to vanity. For instance, when you wish to show the Eternal Majesty, who sees every fibre of your poor nature, what fine speeches you can make to Him in your prayers. We are constantly managing our reputation with our neighbours either by fictitious presentations of one’s self, or by suppression of one’s true character, or by being one thing to one’s self and another to one’s neighbour, playing the comedy of vanity in one way to one person and in another way to another. Self-love moves us to act these parts, although the actor most commonly appears through the character.”

Quotations from Michael F. Glancey, Characteristics From the Writings of Archbishop Ullathorne (London: Burns & Oates, 1889).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Prayer, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.