FLATTERIES AND FLATTERERS
Avoid flattery. Flattery confirms
sinners in their evil desires by giving them praise. Avoid
flatterers. Flatterers rivet souls to their sins.
Those desirous to be holy usually
seek anyone who is in a position to reprimand them, saying with the
psalmist; "Let a good person strike or rebuke me in
kindness." We sinners look for someone to heap praises on us.
Look for reproof, rather than
praise. If your friend is good and kind, when he sees you are set to
commit a sin, he will correct you in his kindness.
It is the Lord who deigns to speak
through the one who corrects his brother or sister. He speaks that
his brother may not be lost.
The one who reprimands does not
hate. He reprimands, precisely because he does not hate. And what is
the result? "Reprove a wise person and he will love you."
Do not, therefore, run after
praises which can make you a sinner; at the end you will only gather
contempt. Instead love a good person who reproves you in his
St. Augustine (PL 37, I 815)