When Christ, having exited from the synagogue, healed all the people who had been brought before Him from various illnesses, then He not simply told them to “keep silent,” but He sternly warned them to remain silent: “He warned them not to make Him known” (Mt. 12:16). When Christ’s face shined like the sun and His garments became white as light upon Mount Tabor, and a voice from the cloud was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
(Mt. 17:5), then He commanded His disciples to remain silent:
“Tell this vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead” (Mt. 17:9).
Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation; the
publicizing of miracles serves as a lantern and a magnet, which illumine and attract the heart of
man toward faith in Christ. Yet, when Jesus Christ came to the world to preach the faith, He took such great care and went to great length in order
to prevent the publicizing of His miracles.
He lights a lamp only to hide it under a basket (Mt. 5:15)—this is indeed astonishing! Did Christ act in this manner in order to avoid vainglory? Would He have inhibited the transmission and propagation of the faith on account of a single sin that seems so trivial? Yes, On account of vainglory. This is precisely why the God-man paid so much attention to evading vainglory: in order to show us that salvation is spoiled by vainglory.
Vainglory is indeed a grave and dreadful sin. From the very beginning until the end of man’s life, vainglory maliciously plots against man’s salvation in all types of ways.
The first passion to surface in man is this passion of vainglory. We observe no blameworthy passions in infants, until vainglory makes its
presence. When you compliment an infant, it shows signs of happiness; when you praise a child, it rejoices and becomes motivated. If, on the other
hand, you speak to it with disapproval, it instantly
becomes sad and starts to cry. This evil vainglory follows man right up to death; for children, teenagers, adults, seniors, even people advanced in years and with one foot in the grave desire and seek honor and praise.
What is even more remarkable than all this, is that vainglory oftentimes accompanies man even after death.
What are the expensive clothing, extravagant
monuments, tall mausoleums, sculptures of faces, pretentious and grandiose inscriptions, and the various other things arranged either by us prior to death or friends and relatives after death?
They are nothing other than the putrid smoke of desire for glory. Concerning such people, the holy prophet of God spoke thus:
“And their graves will be their homes forever. They will be their dwelling places from generation to generation. They invoked their own names on their monuments” (Ps. 48:12).