We are moving along to chapters 4 - 6 of Biggest Lie , by Matthew Kelly. These challenging chapters treat the “lie” part of the title. First, Kelly poses a conundrum: We all hunger for the authentic, and yet because of ego, and a desire to be liked, we may be lying to ourselves. We may present ourselves in ways both small and large that are less than authentic. Inauthenticity could mean pretending (even to ourselves) that we can afford a lifestyle that our income cannot truly sustain, and so we accumulate debt. Or not sharing the struggles of a fragile marriage with our family and friends for fear of not measuring up to expectations.
The desire to broadcast a favorable impression has become woven into many ways we connect through social media platforms, such as FaceBook and Instagram. We seek “likes” and followers which can lead to a certain duality between our “real” and our “narrated” life. Kelly warns, “Social media take[s] our focus off of living life and shifts it to pretending…. We can be more interested in pretending to live interesting lives than actually living them,” (17). Personally, a while back I posted regularly to FaceBook, but no longer. Once I did post, “I have been too busy living my real life to post.”
Any smoke and mirrors in the way we present ourselves can camouflage true beauty for some false cultural glamor. The truth is beautiful and we are beautiful. “We are not perfect, but we are beautifully imperfect,” (19). Each of us is created beautiful but when we do not measure up to our imaginings, we doubt our true value. All the effort we may pour into social portraits robs us of the energy necessary to pursue our true end. God is inviting us to holiness.
I cannot stress enough, and I need to remind myself from time to time: we are made for greatness; we are made for glory. One of the most remarkable truths comes from Athanasius, “God became man that man might become gods.” The Incarnation proves to humanity its great worth. Yes, Jesus came to save us of our sins but also to elevate us to the status of adopted sons of God. And so the biggest lie is: holiness is not possible. Holiness is an impossible myth from a former time. Holiness is the stuff of legend and fairytale. Holiness is not for us. Nonsense.
Many times in his writings, Paul addresses the people as “saints” or holy ones (depending on your translation.) At almost every salutation and closing, Paul names the baptized: “saints.” He reminds us that we “are no longer strangers and sojourners, but ... fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Eph 2:19) and that we share “in the inheritance of the saints in light,” (Col 1:12). In other words, the Father has prepared for us a great destiny and glory in sharing His son with us.
Kelly holds that it is an astounding tragedy, and evidence of the lying craft of the evil one, that we SAINTS have begun to believe the lie that holiness is not possible. Instead, our task is just to make it through life unscathed and hopefully nice vacations.
Nope. We are beautiful. And the greatest beauty is revealed in the greatest authenticity. Being our real selves in our real life, with God at the center, is the simplest way to live the reality of our sanctity.
Many blessings upon you and your family!