20 Oct 2017
The Scriptures today issue a call to integrity; a call to be whole, to have our insides and outsides integrated into one—to be a person whose heart, mind, and actions are all on the same page. It’s basically the idea of being honest and true; to be a person of integrity. And this can certainly be a challenge.
On the one hand, we have our interior life. We have our own personal desires, wants, and needs. We have our own opinions and understandings of things. We each have our own personalities, our own values, our own relationships with God, and so on.
But, on the other hand, we have our exterior life. We have the commandments of God, the teachings of Christ and his Church, and other guidelines. We have the influence of the culture around us; the influence of others’ values and desires. We have all the prayers we learned along the way: the Our Father, the Rosary, the responses at Mass, and so on.
The challenge, it so often seems, is how to balance these two: the interior life and the exterior life. And which one is takes priority? Is my interior life supposed to be guided by my exterior life? Or is my exterior life supposed to be guided and shaped by my interior life? The answer, it seems, is: Both.
Sometimes we have to listen to our interior conscience; that becomes a priority. Sometimes we need to follow more the voice of the Church, and let that voice shape our conscience. Sometimes—most of the time, we have to be true to our personality, and to the person God has made us to be. Other times—sometimes, however, we have to let our personality be shaped by the needs of living with other people: whether that’s marriage, or friendship, or at work.
And the “key” to balancing this is humility, and turning to God for help. Even if we make poor choices in life, and we’re not quite living a life of integrity, as long as we’re honestly, humbly trying, all will be well. And that’s because at the root of who we are is a people who humbly, honestly, and faithfully rely on the help of God.
A life of integrity begins and ends with our reliance on God. If we can rely on him, everything else will fall into place; we’ll be living a life of integrity.