"They are fond of places of honor." —Matthew 23:6
Our American society is "fond of places of honor." We have honor rolls, radio and TV interviews, Halls of Fame, autograph sessions, awards banquets, and numerous other ways to honor others. While the Lord does call us to honor our parents (Dt 5:16; Sir 3:2ff) and all people (1 Pt 2:17), He is adamant that we do not seek honor for ourselves.
"Let another praise you — not your own mouth; someone else — not your own lips" (Prv 27:2). Yet though we don't praise ourselves directly, we are not to even desire others to praise us. That presents a great spiritual danger to us. "As the crucible tests silver and the furnace gold, so a man is tested by the praise he receives" (Prv 27:21). Receiving praise can be dangerous to our eternal soul in that it can lead to pride, the chief sin among capital sins. Yet we are to live praiseworthy lives in a public, visible setting (Mt 5:16). How do we conduct ourselves in this risky situation?
We are to constantly seek to humble ourselves (Mt 23:12). Then Jesus exalts us, so we must then humble ourselves even more, which leads to more exaltation. Thus, like John the Baptizer, we constantly seek to decrease so that Jesus may increase (Jn 3:30). If God then chooses to honor us with a crown of glory, we graciously receive it and instantly pass that crown of honor on to our God (see Rv 4:10). Therefore, our only fondness for places of honor would be because Jesus gets more glory (see 2 Cor 9:13).
Prayer: Father, "not to us but to Your name give glory" (Ps 115:1). "Hallowed be Your name" (Mt 6:9).
Promise: "Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss." —Ps 85:11
Praise: Pope St. Pius X encouraged Catholics to become involved in politics. St. Pius, pray for us to use our Catholic votes to end abortion and injustice.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Richard L. Klug, January 16, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 26, 2004