Don’t be a Show-off

Friends in Christ, today Our Lord warns us not to give alms to win the praise of others, not to pray in a showy way, so that others notice, and not to fast so as to attract attention.
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One of the most shameful vices is to be a show-off, or to be a braggart – always looking for attention and talking about oneself.
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Boasting, says St. Thomas, is to make false claims in praise of one’s own qualities or accomplishments. It is an attempt to make oneself seem bigger or above, what one really is.
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Doing things to attract the attention of others, so that others will rave about us, is really a form of immaturity. A person who is seeking even in a minimal way to walk the life of Christ, surely knows that what matters is God’s impression of us; after all, he sees the heart.
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If we do something meritorious before God, some good thing, and then go around bragging about it, we lose the merit of that deed. The Lord says today, if you do things for the praise of others, then you have had your reward.
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Bragging can occur for two reasons: It could be out of arrogance or out of vanity. Boasting because a person is arrogant has its root in pride, St. Gregory the Great says that boasting is a form of pride with the goal of vainglory.
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People will be braggarts about the amount of money or investments they have, the kind of house they have, or even their looks or their hairstyle. But as Our Lord says, this kind of vainglory can creep into even our spiritual life, in which case, alms-giving, fasting, and our prayers can become actions in search of only the attention of others.
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We should therefore conduct our life with decorum and restraint, and do everything, not for the eyes of others, but for the glory of God.

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