July 6, 2012
As I was reading today’s meditation in one of my favorite books, Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year, I thought about why God is the perfect friend and spouse of the soul, and how important it is that we make a priority of truthfulness in all aspects of our lives. In particular, I thought about the biggest relationship killer ever: lying and duplicity of all kinds.
The title of the meditation is “Divine Simplicity”, and Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. had this to say:
If we wish to approach in some way to divine simplicity, we must avoid every form of duplicity. [It seems obvious, doesn’t it? But I never thought about it this way. When we speak of someone being a “simple person”, we invariably mean that the individual is not duplicitous or engaging in hidden agendas.]
We must avoid duplicity of mind by a passionate search for the truth, loving and accepting the truth even when it exacts sacrifice, or if by revealing our defects and errors it is not to our credit. [No such things as “white lies” exist. And if we cannot admit our faults and shortcomings rather than trying to cover them up, are we not on the road to making bad confessions? Nothing is static in our relationship with God. We are either moving toward Him or away from Him. Whenever we act with truth we move toward Him. Anything else is moving away.
And I always think about meeting Jesus at my death. Is it not better for me to have admitted all my sins than have tried to fool myself into believing that He accepts my temporizing and excuses?]
We must also cultivate the most candid sincerity, fleeing from every form of falsehood. Jesus said: “Let your speech be yes, yes, no, no” (Mt. 5:37). Even before this simplicity appears in our words it should shine in our thought and mind, for “If thy eye be evil, thy whole body shall be darksome” (ibid. 6:23). Our thought is the eye which directs our acts; if our thoughts are simple, upright, and sincere, all our acts will be so too.
Here I think about the process of duplicity and deception. It is always a deliberate act. Not like sins of passion such as anger or lust where we give vent to our feelings often before we realize it. No. Lying and deception, sneaking around behind someone’s back, and manipulating others which always involves deception, is always deliberate and thought out. Calculated. A partnership with the Father of Lies. This is what makes duplicity so heinous and destructive in relationships. It makes trust impossible because all true relationships have to be based on trust. Anything else is just somebody using somebody else.
We can always trust God. He means what He says and says what He means. He doesn’t waffle on anything. He doesn’t play favorites. Everybody has the chance for salvation if he opens himself up to receiving the grace God offers him.
How do we avoid duplicity? What habits help us? Father Gabriel gives us the answer and it is simple:
We will avoid duplicity of the will by rectitude of intention: this will lead us to act solely to please God. [This is the money quote for me. If I cannot honestly say that I am acting solely to please God, I am acting for my own selfish interests. I am turned away from God. I am not walking in the light but in darkness instead. This can become a soul-killing habit.] Then even in the multiplicity of our acts, there will be simplicity and profound unity. Then we will not halt between two sides: between love of self and love of God, between creatures and the Creator, but we will walk on one road only, the straight road of duty, of God’s will and good pleasure.
It can be severely painful to look at ourselves and face our duplicity. But Jesus is always there for us in the confessional. If we really understood how much He wants to give us the grace of forgiveness and amendment of life, we would not deny Him this but would rush to Him in a heartbeat. We must trust Him (Divine Mercy). Nothing about ourselves is too much for Him to handle. A sign of our growth in holiness is the progress we make toward being truthful with ourselves, with those around us, and with God.
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