Daily Thought For January 26, 2018

The Quest For Authenticity

 There are moments in every person's life when we are filled with self-disgust, when consciousness of failure tears the mask from self-assurance and self-justification, and reality stands revealed-even if only for a moment.  Occasionally such a moment produces a permanent change and the mask is not resumed.  Our natural tendency is to avoid these moments of truth.  Pride, cowardice, and above all an intuitive feeling that the only way out of a situation will be to humble oneself and submit, tempt a person to declare reality unreal and to pronounce the counterfeit genuine.  
The shock may come when a great wrong, or a succession of mischances, has sapped a person's self-confidence and forced him to take a closer look at himself. Everything depends on whether he takes this seriously or passes it off as a moment of 'weakness' from which he speedily 'recovers.'  In that case his last state is worse than his first-he becomes immunized to error, no longer able to distinguish the false from the true.  Then we get clichés like 'self-determination,' the 'right to live,' 'hunger for life,' and so on.  When this happens in the case of a gifted person, he can easily become an evil influence leading others astray, scattering sparks that ignite the inflammable material and bring about historic catastrophes.  Such individuals are capable of dragging whole generations to ruin.  Their contemporaries suddenly find themselves in a vicious circle, sharing responsibility for evils they are unable to rectify.
On the other hand by divine grace a person may be suddenly raised to a consciousness of how near he is to God.  Then, too, he is bound to be shocked by the truth of his own unworthiness.  None of us can escape the admission that we have made sad mistakes and to some extent bungled our lives.  By acknowledging their fault humans recognize their weakness and their dependence on divine help, and recognize also the danger of concluding an easy peace with the weaknesses of their own nature.  Coming to terms with things our conscience cannot approve means that we must share the responsibility for them because they have our assent. 

(Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J., Magnificat, October 2017, p. 177-178.)

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