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Pretending to be and truly being Holy

Matthew 5:20-26 Friday of the First Week of Lent I will take a look at my life to identify the areas where duplicity manifests itself and take a concrete step in toward living with more integrity.
by Father Alex Yeung, LC | Source:
Matthew 5:20-26

Introductory Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for this time I can now spend with you. Please increase my faith, my trust in you, and my love. Lord, You constantly fill my life with so many blessings. How ungrateful I am at times! I wish to collaborate more perfectly, let me be a more perfect collaborator in establishing your Kingdom on earth. Fill my life with integrity. Make me truly your intimate friend, I love you Lord, and with the help of your grace I will strive with the help of your grace to become someone to whom any soul can come in order to discover your truth, your life, your love. Take my life, take this day and, make it yours. Amen.

Father, help me to shun hypocrisy and seek true holiness. let all my choices and actions be more and more perfectly in harmony with the promptings of your Holy Spirit in my life.

1. Beware of Subjective Impressions:
How much would it take to surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees? Not much, I suspect. Theirs was a holiness of broad phylacteries and ostentatious tassels; of tithes on mint, dill and cummin; of seats of honor in the synagogues (Cf. Matthew 23:5, 23; Luke 11:43). In other words, theirs was holiness in appearance only, which is to say no holiness. And what could one discover “inside” of such a soul? Plenty of self-deception; plenty of self-indulgent complacency in a subjective impression of holiness; a repugnant holier-than-thou demeanor. It’s easy enough for us to read the Gospel and wrinkle our noses at those bad ol’ Pharisees. In fact, it’s about as easy as telling ourselves that we could never succumb to such self-deception, that we could never come under the spell of our own subjective impression of presumed holiness. That is why, we must always be ready to examine ourselves, before Christ, and with an acute awareness of our misery and limitations, we must always be ready to examine ourselves. Do I live my life engaged in a genuine pursuit of holiness or in a genuine pursuit of my own vanity and self-glorification?

2. Humility is the True Test of Holiness:
Incompatible with Pride. Pride and personal holiness mix about as well as oil and water. Where our ego is, there is left a little room if any is left for God. Yet, what does it mean to be a disciple of Christ but to be someone who fills himself totally with God in order to bring him within the reach of everyone? What union, what grace or friendship with God can it be in a proud soul? What fervor, what degree of holiness? There is nothing in the world so distant and separated from God as the proud and conceited! Scripture teaches us this in many places, and above all, Christ’s behavior confirms it during his years of public ministry by his hard, uncompromising attitude with the Pharisees and scribes, in the enlightening parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, in his constant request for compunction and the recognition of one’s own misery before granting any miracle or spiritual gift. There is no possible compromise between God and a proud soul – either the soul would have to let go of itself, or God would have to stop being God.

3. Holiness and Integrity is the Heart of the Matter:
At the heart of genuine holiness is the virtue of integrity, a virtue rich in nuances and meaning. Integrity means being a person with only one face, a person who is the same on the inside and on the outside: “what you see is what you get”. Indeed, integrity virtue is foundational for holiness, because it constitutes the very essence of personal honesty and sincerity, so fundamental for the moral life and the seedbeds of other virtues. In our own personal pursuit of holiness, we should never tolerate duplicity of any kind in our behavior; we should avoid like the plague the least hint of ambivalence in our motivations, or incongruity between our thoughts, judgments, choices and actions. There can be no holiness without integrity. In fact, there can be no genuine human happiness without unless it lies on the bedrock virtue of integrity.

Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, I want you to be more and more the meaning and center of my entire life. Surrounding me are so many people who long to discover the reason for my confidence in life, the joy in my heart, and the light in my eyes. When persons come to me seeking you, never let me disappoint them. Let me disappear, and you appear more and more in my life so that, with a holiness that is genuine, humble and true, I will always be an instrument for the salvation of all people with a holiness that is genuine, humble and true. Amen.

I will take a look at my life to identify the areas where duplicity manifests itself and take a concrete step in toward living with more integrity.

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