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Inordinate Affections, Vain Hope, Pride, and Too Much Familiarity

August 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Imitation of Christ, Sin, Virtue

Of Inordinate Affections,
Vain Hope and Pride,
And Too Much Familiarity



LittleSister'sEvilHourSycophantThePathwayOfLifeDrTalmage1. Fly the tumult of the world as much as thou canst; for the talk of worldly affairs is a great hindrance, although it be done with sincere intention; for we are quickly defiled, and enthralled by vanity. The man that is not perfectly dead to himself is quickly tempted and overcome in trifling things. The weak in spirit, and he that is carnal and prone to the things of sense, can hardly withdraw himself altogether from earthly desires. Therefore he is often afflicted when he goeth about to withdraw himself from them, and is easily angered when he is opposed.

2. And if he hath followed his appetite, he is presently disquieted with remorse; for that he hath yielded to his passion, which helpeth him not to obtain the peace which he sought. Therefore true quietness of heart is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them. There is no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is given to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man.


JeanEtienneLiotard07MirrorVanity1. He is vain that putteth his trust in man, or in creatures. Be not ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ nor to be esteemed poor in this world. Presume not upon thyself, but place thy hope in God. Do what lieth in thy power, and God will assist thee. Trust not in thine own knowledge, nor in the skill of any living creature, but rather in the grace of God, Who helpeth the humble, and bringeth down those that are proud.

2. Glory not in wealth if thou have it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who giveth all things, and Who desireth to give thee Himself above all. Esteem not thyself for the height of thy stature nor for the beauty of thy person, which may be disfigured and destroyed by a little sickness. Please not thyself in thy natural gifts or wit, lest thereby thou displease God, to Whom appertaineth all the good whatsoever thou hast.

3. Esteem not thyself better than others, lest in the sight of God, Who knoweth what is in man, thou be accounted worse. Be not proud of well-doing ; for the judgment of God is different from the judgment of men,and that often offendeth Him which pleaseth them. If there be any good in thee, believe that there is much more in others, that so thy mayest preserve humility. It hurteth thee not to submit to all men. But it hurteth thee most of all to prefer thyself to any of them. The humble enjoy continual peace, but in the heart of the proud is envy, and frequent indignation.


WomanDrinkingServantDanteGabrielRossettiTheBowerGarden1. Lay not thy heart open to everyone but treat of thy affairs with the wise, and such as fear God. Converse not much with the young, nor with strangers. Flatter not the rich; neither do thou appear willingly before the great. Keep company with the humble, with the devout, and with the virtuous; and confer with them of things that edify. Be not familiar with any woman but commend all good women in general to God. Desire to be familiar with God alone and His Angels, and avoid the acquaintance of men.

2. We must have love towards all, but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it falleth out, that a person unknown to us is much esteemed, from good report; but whose presence notwithstanding is not grateful to the eyes of those who see him. We think sometimes to please others by our society, but we rather displease them with those bad qualities which they discover in us.

Editor’s Note: Today’s reflection is an excerpt from the “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis.


Art: Little Sister’s Evil Hour, artist unknown, illustration from book “Pathway of Life” by Dr. Talmage, 1888, meets public domain criteria; Young Girl Singing in a Mirror, Jean-Ètienne Liotard, 18th century, PD-US; The Bower Garden, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1859, PD-US published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923; all three Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Nosidam

    This was good but for society today? Wow! With everyone wanting familiarity with everyone on social media this would be scoffed at. I like some privacy and quiet with God. I think Kempis was speaking to people in monasteries, is that so?
    Not sure how we can do this well in today’s culture. It is a goal to achieve but I fear not many people today could relate to it!
    I do my best to try but feel left out of so much in my family and life.
    Someone needs to teach Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. Where have the virtues gone? Thank you!

    • LizEst

      Can be done … I’m not on social media, though at times am tempted. As well, we can use social media without being ruled by it.

      • Bev Mabry

        I use social media primarily for keeping in touch with distant relatives and friends and for entertainment. Nothing too heavy! Avoid all the political stuff most of the time.

    • Bev Mabry

      I sometimes hate keeping my mouth shut and keeping my troubles or opinions to myself – even on Facebook – but I’ve found out the hard way that people who disagree with you or get a grudge against you will use everything against you that they can, even if they have to stretch the truth or even make up things. Better to give them as little ammunition as possible. I have 6 living siblings and unfortunately the two sisters who have more money than the rest of us think they are very superior and are very critical of the rest of us. I’m left very much on my own because I do not get drunk or use drugs like the others. I try to just follow God’s direction and do my best to get along with people – but it’s sad that I’ve come to dread being around those two sisters and their kids too.

      • LizEst

        Sad. Hope you are praying for them.

      • Patricia

        “If I have fulfilled you, it is for the sake of others too. Be ready to pass on to them with love all that you have received. ….Believe with all your heart that in sharing this overflow of Graces, you will help many others. A river gives everything to the sea, yet it always swells anew. -from the book “He and I”.

    • Patricia

      This time for piety and devotion is even more important in today’s society. There needs to be a place inside of each of us that is for God alone; place where we converse with God and make plans to grow in virtue. We carry our personal monastery within us and must retreat into it daily.
      “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the Will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2)).

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