Our Quest for God, Truth and Goodness is opposed by the World
We start with good actions for the sake of God, but end up seeking praise.
"A weak-minded person is frequently diverted toward pursuing exterior happiness when the breath of popular favor accompanies his good actions. So he gives up his own personal choices, preferring to remain at the mercy of whatever he hears from others. Thus, he rejoices not so much to become but to be called blessed. Eager for praise, he gives up what he had begun to be; and so he is severed from God by the very means by which he appeared to be commendable in God."
Abuse and ridicule will help him to turn to God, provided he stays firm
"But sometimes a soul firmly strives for righteousness and yet is beset by men’s ridicule. He does what is admirable but he gets only mockery. He might have gone out of himself because of man’s praise; he returns to himself when repelled by their abuse. Finding no resting-place without, he cleaves more intensely to God within. All his hope is fixed on his Creator, and amid all the ridicule and abuse he invokes his interior witness alone. One who is afflicted in this way grows closer to God the more he turns away from human popularity. He straightway pours himself out in prayer, and, pressured from without, he is refined with a more perfect purity to penetrate what is within.
In this context, the words apply: Whoever is mocked by his friend, as I am, shall call upon God, and he shall hear him. For while the wicked reproach the just, they show them whom they should look to as the witness of their actions. Thus afflicted, the soul strengthens itself by prayer; it is united within to one who listens from on high precisely because it is cut off externally from the praise of men.
Earthly wisdom consists of stratagems that conceal the truth. It considers the truth to be stupidity and thus innocence is seen as foolishness.
The simplicity of the just man is laughed to scorn. It is the wisdom of this world to conceal the heart with stratagems, to veil one’s thoughts with words, to make what is false appear true and what is true appear false. On the other hand it is the wisdom of the just never to pretend anything for show, always to use words to express one’s thoughts, to love the truth as it is and to avoid what is false, to do what is right without reward and to be more willing to put up with evil than to perpetrate it, not to seek revenge for wrong, and to consider as gain any insult for truth’s sake. But this guilelessness is laughed to scorn, for the virtue of innocence is held as foolishness by the wise of this world. Anything that is done out of innocence, they doubtless consider to be stupidity, and whatever truth approves of, in practice is called folly by their earthly wisdom.
While we avoid the temptation of changing our course of action to seek praise, we should gratefully accept the love and support of our brothers and sisters as a gift from God. The Lord commanded us to love one another and this love brings joy. Notice that saints help others become saints.