Saint Theophan The Recluse-Do Not Wish Other People to Know Your Good Deeds
Saint Theophan the Recluse. "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year".
[Gal. 2:6-10; Mark 5:22-24, 35-6:1] Having resurrected the daughter of Jairus, the Lord charged her parents straitly, that no man should know it.
Thus are we commanded: do not seek glory, and do not train your ear for
human praises, even if your deeds are of such a nature that it is
impossible to hide them. Do what the fear of God and your conscience
urge you to do, and behave as though such talk did not exist. Look after
your soul—as soon as it inclines the slightest degree in this
direction, return it to its place. A desire for people to know is
provoked by a desire for praise. When there is praise the goal is
achieved; but this undermines one’s energy and suppresses the
praiseworthy activity, and consequently suppresses the continuation of
praise. Thus, one who wants people to know of his good deeds is his own
betrayer. It is a good thing for people to praise what is good—for why
wouldn’t someone praise what is good? But do not keep this in your
thoughts; do not expect it and do not seek it. Indulge yourself in this
and you will be totally spoiled. One indulgence leads to another.
Increasing the frequency of the same deeds turns them into a habit, and
you will be a lover of praise. When you come to that point, then not all
of your deeds will be praiseworthy, and praise will cease. Because you
lack praise from others, you will begin to praise yourself, and this is
what the Lord called sounding a trumpet before oneself. This is even
worse. The soul then becomes petty, and chases solely after tinsel. Do
not expect true good to come from such a soul.