“I AM THE TRUTH (Jn 14:6).”
THE “DUMB DEVIL” AND THE NEED FOR SINCERITY.
- The “dumb devil”.
- “I am the Truth.” The need for sincerity with God, with one’s self, and with others. Consequences of falsehood.
- The means to grow in sincerity
St. Matthew (9, 32-33) recounts how the Apostles brought to him “a dumb demoniac… And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marvelled, saying, ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel.’”
St John Chrysostom comments that this man “could not present his petition by himself, for he was dumb; And he could not beg for the others, for the devil had bound his tongue, and his tongue was tied to his soul “(Hom. Vang., 32, 1).
- When in personal prayer we do not speak to the Lord of our miseries and do not beg him to cure them; or when in Confession or spiritual direction, out of shame, we do not reveal our miseries, we have then allowed the dumb devil to take control of us, and exploit our pride and vanity to hide our spiritual wounds. The result? Allowing the “dumb devil” to dominate us will prevent us to recover interior peace, to receive the help of God’s grace through His instruments, and to return to the right path.
- Hence, the necessity of the virtue of sincerity, which is a manifestation of humility, indispensable if we are to grow in our love for God.
2. “I am the Truth.” The need for sincerity with God, with one’s self, and with others. Consequences of falsehood.
Are we men and women who love and respect the truth? Truth is oftentimes so obscured by sin, our disordered passions and materialism. Let us not forget that Jesus loves this virtue so much that He declared of himself: I am the Truth (Jn 14:6), while the devil is a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8: 44), all that he promises is falsehood. Jesus asked the Father for his own, for us, to be sanctified in the truth (Cf. Jn 17: 17ff).
There is much talk today of being sincere, of being genuine, transparent, authentic. Yet how many men and women prefer to hide themselves in anonymity and often disguise the true motives of their actions before themselves and before others.
Sincerity is a Christian virtue of the first order. We could not be good Christians if we did not live it to its ultimate consequences: we cannot be good Christians we are not sincere with God, with ourselves, and with others.
- If we are not sincere with God:
- we cannot love Him nor serve Him;
- a personal relationship and encounter with Him in prayer would be impossible.
- We will be enclosed within ourselves, impenetrable by God’s light, mercy, love and grace.
- If we are not sincere with ourselves:
- we cannot have a well-formed conscience for an insincere person distorts his conscience, and becomes blind for the things of God;
- if one is insincere with himself, one will live his life based on a lie;
- one cannot love what is good and true, nor reject that which is evil; he will always be at the mercy of what is convenient and pleasurable rather than what is good and true;
- we will never be willing to recognize our faults, without dissimulating them nor without seeking false excuses;
- If we are not sincere with others, (especially to those who have the task to direct our soul):
- receiving help from parents, friends, mentors… will be impossible;
- coexistence becomes unbearable,
- human relationships will be contaminated by lie, fraud, hypocrisy, suspicion, deceit, falsehood, treachery, disloyalty and infidelity.
- Spiritual direction without sincerity will be useless;
- Confessions: sacrilegious and invalid,
- Governments and institutions, impregnated by rampant corruption,
- Society and world: without truth, justice and peace….
- All these to the detriment of the dignity of the human person.
- PRAYER: to ask the Lord to see the errors, the defects of the character …, to give us strength to recognize them as such, and courage to ask for help and fight.
- Daily, brief but effective EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE, to know ourselves.
- Then, the SPIRITUAL DIRECTION and the CONFESSION, truly opening the soul, telling the entire –not half-truths−, with the desire that they know our intimacy so that they can help us in our walk towards God. Oftentimes it will help us to be sincere by saying first that which we do not want to be known.
“Do not let even the smallest focal point of corruption take root in your souls, no matter how tiny it may be. Speak out. When water flows, it stays clean; blocked up, it becomes a stagnant pool full of repugnant filth. What was once drinking water becomes a breeding-ground for insects (St. Josemaria, Friends of God, n. 181).”
“Go to those who direct your souls with your hearts open wide. Do not close your hearts, for if the dumb devil gets in, it is very difficult to get rid of him.
Forgive me for insisting on these points, but I believe it is absolutely necessary for you to have deeply impressed on your minds the fact that humility, together with its immediate consequence, sincerity; are the thread which links the other means together. These two virtues act as a foundation on which a solid victory can be built. If the dumb devil gets inside a soul, he ruins everything. On the other hand, if he is cast out immediately, everything turns out well; we are happy and life goes forward properly. Let us always be brutally sincere, but in a good mannered way. (St. Josemaria, Friends of God, n. 188).”
Dear brethren in Christ, let us reject that dumb demon constantly trying to fasten our tongue, and strive to be sincere, with the help of God’s grace, we will experience immediate joy and interior peace.
Let us ask God for this virtue, for us and for others and daily strive to be humble by being sincere with God, with our self, and with others.