A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This word from today’s Gospel (Matthew 23:27-32) is often thrown at people of faith, especially socially conservative people of faith.

The heart of hypocrisy, of course, is to pretend externally that we conform to an ideal to which in reality we do not (internally or otherwise).

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.

You are like whitewashed tombs,
which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men's bones

and every kind of filth.

Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

The reality is that we are all sinners: we all fall short of perfection and some of us feel mired in various sins of human weakness.

The cynical reaction to hypocrisy is to surrender the ideal: if we cannot attain perfection, why try?

That cynical path, of course, is a slippery slope down into apathy, the victory of evil, and the loss of whatever good still exists in the world.

For the good of the world and for our own survival, we must hold onto our ideals and keep trying.

We must cleanse ourselves, inside and out, by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and by that grace strive to attain the perfection to which he calls us, encouraging and helping each other along the way.

To do this, we must be honest: both about perfection and about our sinfulness.

This does not mean that we must make every detail of our personal sinfulness public, although we must be careful not to represent ourselves as having attained perfection in which we still fall short.

I myself have not attained any semblance of perfection. I have many weaknesses. I stumble and I sin. (Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, be merciful to me – a sinner)

Indeed, I daresay that, on the road to perfection, I lag far behind most of you who read these words.

Yet you and I are on the same road, striving by the grace of Christ toward the same perfection to which God calls us and helping each other as best we can.

May we keep ourselves from the trap of hypocrisy. May we never pretend that we are better than we are, but may we miserable sinners remain always faithful to the path to perfection: opening ourselves ever more fully to God’s grace so that he may make us what he wants us to be in Christ.

(adapted from an earlier post)