Friday, October 21, 2011

Refraining from Doing Good?

Today's lesson from the rule of St. Benedict speaks of doing something good with a pure intention; that is, with zeal for God's glory.

Father Gerard Ellspermann, O. S. B. of St. Meinrad's Abbey writes in his reflection for today:

Is it possible that many good people refrain from doing good simply because they experience temptations of pride in their good works?

He concludes that the answer is yes. Especially when one is talented and the work undertaken will come to notice either publicly or within the Catholic community. When the necessary work goes against the grain of the established mind set, such as the establishment of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite where it currently doesn't exist, both pride and fear of criticism can come into play. "What will people say?" has killed more than one good work.

Father Gerard goes on to say:

I am reminded of the example of St. Bernard of Clairvaux who one day ascended the pulpit to preach. He was assailed with temptations of pride, since he was an eloquent preacher. But he said to himself, "I did not begin this for the devil -- and I'm not going to stop for him." And he did preach an eloquent sermon.

I love St. Bernard's statement. If we examine our consciences concerning our undertakings, both within the context of our vocations and within the context of our duty to participate in the action of Christ for the salvation of souls, and if we can truthfully say what St. Bernard said, then we cannot refrain from doing good. We cannot refrain from doing our best in our daily duties at work or at home with a pure heart, regardless of being misunderstood or suffering from the jealousies and mean-spiritedness of others.

"That in all things God may be glorified" is the litmus test against pride and pusillanimous rejection of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We only need to look good to God and follow in the footsteps of our Master.


  1. I love that quote from St Bernard. Thanks for sharing this. Great post.

  2. This one really made me think. Enjoyed it a lot.

    God Bless!

  3. Thank you for speaking directly to my soul.
    And I had to giggle when I saw the word "pusillanimous"...I did a whole post on that word on Benmakesten once!

  4. Friends, thanks for your comments. Judy, I had fun using the word "pusillanimous". It seemed just right for this post.