Father Geiermann continues his discussion of inordinate attachments:
Concerning honors, he explains: “Honor is a tribute to excellence and a reward of virtue. There is an excellence of person, an excellence of appearance, an excellence of position, and an excellence of achievement. The excellence of person is founded on birth, age, constitution, talent, and education of an individual. The excellence of appearance is founded on physical charms, polished manners, and fine clothes; while the excellence of position rests on the prominence a person occupies in social, commercial, political, or religious affairs. Man’s strongest personal claim to honor is the excellence of achievement, especially when attained under adverse circumstances, for the excellence of person, of appearance, and of position result primarily from the gifts of Providence. Man may seek honor by doing things to win the applause of the world, or by seeking to please God in all things and referring all honor to Him. As Christians we must be detached from the honors of the world, not seek them, be indifferent to them, and refer them to God when thrust upon us. If, then, we do great things to glorify God and benefit mankind, we may rest assured that God Himself will honor us by being our ‘reward exceeding great’ (Gen 15:1).”
Concerning self-will, Father Geiermann writes: “Self-will is the inclination to do our own will. On account of the corruption of human nature self-will is usually opposed to the will of God and is defined as such by spiritual writers. As heaven is the reward for doing God’s will, detachment is necessary for all. Children must renounce their will to obey their parents; citizens, to abide by the law of the land; and Christians, to become worthy brethren of Christ. . . . In proportion as we do God’s will we work for heaven, and in proportion as we do our own will we have our reward in its gratification.”
“The gratification of self-will (1) exposes us to delusions; (2) leads to disquietude; (3) is the greatest obstacle to perfection; (4) exposes us to the temptations of Satan; and (5) robs us of merit.”
“Detachment from self-will, on the other hand, (1) enables us to find the will of God; (2) is the first step in the spiritual life; (3) is the rule of perfection; (4) gives peace and security; (5) transforms us into true Christians; (6) multiplies our merit; and (7) assures us of the reward of heaven.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).