Is Vanity a Temptation for Those in a Habit?
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Was it possible that vanity was a fault among some religious?
How do you cope with the temptation to vanity?
Jesuit Father Jean Pierre de Caussade addressed this issue with a Visitation Nun centuries ago and had some good advice that even applies today.
He said to her:
To Sister M. Thérèse de Vioménil. About feelings of vanity and frequent infidelities.
“My dear Sister and very dear daughter in our Lord. The peace of Jesus Christ be always with you. You must know that before curing you of vanity God wills to make you feel all the ugliness of this accursed passion, and to convince you thoroughly of your powerlessness to cure it, so that all the glory of your cure should revert to Him alone. You have, then, in this matter, only two things to do. Firstly to examine peacefully this frightful interior ugliness. Secondly, to hope for and await in peace from God alone the moment fixed for your cure. You will never be at rest till you have learned to distinguish what is from God from that which is your own; to separate what belongs to Him from what belongs to yourself. You add, “How can you teach me this secret.” You do not understand what you are saying. I can easily teach it to you in a moment, but you cannot learn to practise it until you have been made to feel, in peace, all your miseries. I say, in peace, to give room for the operations of grace.”
Father de Caussade then quotes our Founder St Francis de Sales, with this precious statement: “One cannot put on perfection as one puts on a dress.”
He gives further hope by saying:
“That which you so often repeat nteriorly, “Lord, You can do all things, have pity on me,” is a good and a most simple act; nothing more is required to gain His all powerful aid; keep constant to these practices and interior dispositions; God will do the rest without you perceiving it.”
- Jean Pierre de Caussade
Come chat for spiritual support with others and a Visitation Sister Sunday Sept. 21, at 7:30PM EST.
Our discussion will be guided by these questions:
- In what ways have you been tempted with vanity?
- Have you ever wondered whether religious still have to struggle with vanity?
- Fr. de Caussade says that we must “examine peacefully this frightful interior ugliness.” How can one do this? What is frightful about it?
- How does one honor God with his or her body, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and not fall into vanity?
- Has your personal piety ever led you to vanity?
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