St. Thomas on the 3 types of vainglory. (Question)

I have a question regarding The Summa’s explanation of certain vainglories.

“Now glory may be called vain in three ways. First, on the part of the thing for which one seeks glory: as when a man seeks glory for that which is unworthy of glory, for instance when he seeks it for something frail and perishable: secondly, on the part of him from whom he seeks glory, for instance a man whose judgment is uncertain: thirdly, on the part of the man himself who seeks glory, for that he does not refer the desire of his own glory to a due end, such as God’s honor, or the spiritual welfare of his neighbor.”

What is meant by that? Does that mean that I’m not allowed to enjoy a compliment over a praiseworthy thing simply because that person leads a sinful lifestyle in other things?

for example…a lukewarm priest commending me on staying chaste even though he teaches premarital sex isn’t a sin? Am I still allowed to accept and feel complimented by his compliment?

I think you would be guilty of the first type of seeking glory that Aquinas mentioned. Just stay chaste and forget the compliments!

Are you saying that you remain chaste in thought, word, and deed (dress, speech, jokes, TV programs, etc.) without help of the Power of the Holy Spirit? That you willed yourself to be chaste and by your efforts only, it has come to pass?

I don’t know if it is correct or not, but I use the following ‘tool’ to help in this regard. I see the Lion as a power and the Holy Spirit as the Power of God. My Will either draws on the power of the Lion to think and move or the power of the Holy Spirit. My Will has no power of its own.

The Object (as I see it) is to die to/disengage from my Self (the Lion and his depravity and strength) and to depend on God’s strength only. My Will does not exist as an island unto itself with its own motor. To be ‘Self-sufficient’ is to be in bondage to the pride/desires of the lion and not know it. As one person put it, we orchestrate our lives apart from God but use HIm as a crisis team when the Lion runs us into the inevitable brick walls and blind alleys.

A ‘proper’ comment might be along the lines of, “May Jesus continue to be a lamp unto your feet and the Light upon your Path.” When we are Graced with truly getting onto a Righteous path from some prior road of sinning, the glory is to the Trinity alone. I learned the hard way that abstinence (changing nothing else about my life) was not Christ’s idea of Chastity. But the Lion told me how ‘righteous’ I was in just being abstinent and how proud of mySelf I should. (Which works out to praising him.)

The above quote you sent seems amiss, to me. For a man to seek or accept glory for himself under any conditions goes against the teachings of the Bible. What is man that he would ever be deserving of glory? St. Paul was snatched from the jaws of Satan by a Power greater than himself and Satan. Is the Summa saying that Paul now deserves the glory/worship for that transformation?

I, too, strive to be chaste in thought, word, and deed by the aid of the Holy Spirit. Although I limit TV to primarily (90%) Christian TV, there are occasional hosts who wear tight jeans and I’ll catch my eyes drawn downward by the enemy within - I flip the program listing up so that the show is a small square in the corner (I can listen and not watch). It requires vigilence at the gates of eyes, ears, and mouth. (And nose, if I smell a familiar cologne from the past.)

“Brethren, it is this way: The Lord, He is always voting for a man; and the devil, he is always voting against him. Then the man himself votes, and that breaks the tie.”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.