Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Vanity and Conceit


It is not always easy to conquer the spirit of vanity and conceit in oneself. In this, only the great spiritual directors have succeeded, primarily with God's grace, with constant vigilance over their souls and with very delicate spiritual sensitivities and distinctions.

At one time, Abba Nisteroes was walking with one of his brethren. Suddenly, they spotted a serpent on the road. The brother quickly moved aside and the great Nisteroes fled after him. "Are you also afraid, father?" the monk asked Nisteroes. The elder replied: "No, my son, I am not afraid but I had to flee otherwise I would not have fled from the spirit of vanity." That is: "Had I remained in place, you would have been amazed at me and I would have become vain from that!"

- St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue

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