Divine Simplicity and Truth

July 6, 2012

Two-faced mask

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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V. Praised be Jesus Christ!

R. Now and forever!

(Click on the link above to read why I end my posts this way.)

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Friday, July 6th, 2012 spirituality

16 Comments to Divine Simplicity and Truth

  1. Barb,
    This is an excellent post. I always love when you quote and then comment on Fr. Gabriel’s words. Do you think you could put this one up on the community blog at some point too? I think it’s a must read. I would like to link to it too if you don’t mind. We never know who may run across our posts and this is a great one.
    Mary recently posted..Prayer Request

  2. Mary on July 7th, 2012
  3. Mary, Thanks and yes, I’ll post it at the Community blog. You can link to my blog any time you want. The more people who can hear these kinds of things, the better and I know you have a solid readership.

  4. barb on July 7th, 2012
  5. Thanks, Barb!

  6. Mary on July 7th, 2012
  7. Barb, this is such an excellent post. I do believe that at some point in all of our lives we are guilty of duplicity. I know I was taught, if only by example to be duplicitous so as not to hurt people’s feelings. I am only just learning to say no when someone wants to give me something I don’t want or don’t like. I think the worst though, is when a person is intentionally deceptive, calculating, and an outright liar. Most of us say or do things without giving much thought. Sometimes though, you run across someone who is truly under-handed. Thank you for this post!

  8. Monica on July 7th, 2012
  9. Thank you for posting this on the Community of Catholic Bloggers website, Barb.

    God bless.
    Victor S E Moubarak recently posted..The Fear of God

  10. Victor S E Moubarak on July 7th, 2012
  11. Monica, I think it was Shakespeare who wrote: “What tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” In any case, it is the pathological liars and calculating manipulators who do great damage. Good for you that you are starting to say “no”. I’m also of the opinion that if we think it over, it is not necessary to use even “white lies”. If we just develop a habit of kindness and charity I believe the Holy Ghost will always give us the right words to say.

  12. barb on July 7th, 2012
  13. Great article. I was really drawn to your last paragraph.
    I have always had such a sensitive conscience. I have been like that since a child and could very easily become scrupulous. Saying a white lie would make me feel guilty almost right away!
    I am getting better and more trusting in God’s mercy. I think confidence in God’s mercy is hard for some people and something we can not talk about enough.
    Colleen recently posted..Sunday Snippets – July 8

  14. Colleen on July 7th, 2012
  15. Yes, Colleen, now is the time of His mercy to the contrite of heart. I think one of the Fatima secrets involved an angel with a sword aloft crying “Repent.” Till our last breath we can throw ourselves on His mercy.

  16. barb on July 7th, 2012
  17. You wrote: “it is the pathological liars and calculating manipulators who do great damage.” This is so true. I was thinking today about the damaged lives of people I know (including my own life) who have been victimized by liars and calculating manipulators. I have over the years tried to understand how these kinds of people can have salvation and yet I know from personal experience that God can change a person who is treacherous. I know someone who lived such a deceptive life that he believed his own lies. Only hours before his death did he finally come to terms with the kind of person that he was. I have been waiting (sometimes not so patiently) for another person come to terms with who they are. This person is different. The first likely received Grace because as sick a mind as he had, he did go to daily mass. This other person, though, will likely only receive Grace because of the prayers and works of others. We seem to be living in times when there are more and more people with psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies. They say there is no cure, but I do believe that God can change even the hardest of hearts. It is a time of Divine Mercy. So many are in such need of God’s Mercy.
    Monica recently posted..Karen-Crow, The Crow Girl and a Saint With Crows (Color Page)

  18. Monica on July 8th, 2012
  19. Monica, your comment is a message of hope. We really do need continual prayers and sacrifice for the sociopaths who wreak such havoc with others. Often they come from highly abusive backgrounds and don’t realize that the coping mechanisms they adopted to survive are as sick as the abuse they suffered. You’re right. Jesus can work miracles even if it takes years.

  20. barb on July 8th, 2012
  21. Barb,
    I love this post. (although not an easy one to read.) None of us likes to face our flaws, but Fr. Gabriel gives some excellent advice for doing this. We can’t hide anything about ourselves from Jesus. So true that nothing about us is too much for Him to handle.
    Divine Intimacy is one of my favorite books for meditation; it may be time for me to pick it up again.
    Thanks for an excellent post and God bless.
    Karin recently posted..My Brush With Darkness

  22. Karin on July 10th, 2012
  23. God bless you, Karin, and thanks for commenting. Sometimes I want to bang my head against the wall when I discover myself lying to myself, which also means lying to God. Fortunately the Divine Mercy is always with us, waiting for us to come to Him.

  24. barb on July 10th, 2012
  25. Wow, this post could not have come at a better time. I was on a trip during which I was faced with duplicity over and over again. Since then I have been looking into my soul at where I am duplicitous and trying to grow beyond this. I once heard Fulton Sheen say (recorded, of course!) (paraphrased) “None of us are in the same place spiritually we were last year. We’re either better or we’re worse. If we’re the same, then we’re worse.”
    Maria recently posted..Whether they heed or resist….

  26. Maria on July 10th, 2012
  27. Duplicity is really scary. It’s no fun to be around people you can’t trust and always having to be on guard to protect yourself. After awhile the stress is so great a person can break down physically or mentally or both. And yes, we all need to do what you’re doing – looking into our souls to face our own duplicity and seeking to grow beyond it. God bless you and thanks for commenting.

  28. barb on July 10th, 2012
  29. I was referred to your site by Mary333. I am impressed that you end your posts the same way. I used to sign my books with +AMDG (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam) so people would give credit where it’s due and after reading your article on ending your posts the same way, it struck me: I should put AMDG in all of mine. Thank you!!! You’re on my blogroll now.
    Anabelle recently posted..The Medal of St. Benedict

  30. Anabelle on July 10th, 2012
  31. Thanks, Anabelle. I feel so strongly about praising Jesus in print that I had to do this. So glad you’re going with the AMDG. We used to write that or JMJ at the top of our school papers. Thanks to those wonderful nuns who in those days didn’t run around in buses doing political stuff instead of praying!

  32. barb on July 10th, 2012

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