“Be such as you appear and appear such as you be.”

In November of last year we were told that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

It seems we have left the time when truth was essential to any discussion, and entered into the age of post truth, fake news and alternative facts: anything goes as long as we can obtain what we are seeking. Means become more important than ends, and nothing seems to be excluded.

Yet this leads to the weakening of our societies, where power is all that counts, and this leads to rampant corruption and to all sorts of manipulation. So we seek transparency, and build more and more structures to ensure compliance to procedures that claim to guarantee fairness.

Not transparency but persons of integrity

More than transparency we need integrity, which is much more: it means being as you appear and appearing as you are, to use the expression of Mary Ward. She was a 16th century Yorkshire woman who had to face serious difficulties, even persecution from the Church when she tried to found a new style of religious life for women patterned on the Jesuit order for men. She could easily have cut a few corners and lived in peace but she would not have been faithful to what she knew to be her calling. She would have betrayed herself as the price for living in peace.

Integrity as weakness, naivete

Most of us do not have to face such huge choices, but living in a culture that seems to put very little value on integrity means we are all the time tempted to cut corners and bend the rules to avoid having to pay a price to be true to ourselves.  

Great things are only done by persons of integrity, whether it is raising a family to be proud of or creating a positive and healthy work environment. Always at a price. Always done with humility.

Nothing can ever replace a person of integrity, and perhaps never was this need felt more than today. Jesus calls blessed those who are pure of heart, and promises them a huge reward: seeing God. It is certainly a grace to be asked, in the belief that God is making all of us holy along the pathway of truth.

To help with your reflection: Today we bring you a poem ‘Be Who You Are’ by Alisha Ricks:

Be who you are
Accepting yourself is a start
Open your eyes
Look at yourself
Know you are someone
You can achieve something
Put your dreams and goals to use
Go out and put a smile on someone’s face
Or a smile on your own face

It all begins with loving yourself
Because if there is no love then what’s in your heart?
It’s never to late to be who you are
So take back your life and start living

Don’t worry about your ethnicity
Don’t worry about rude comments
Don’t worry about frowns
Don’t worry about the whispers
Don’t worry about the judgments

Because thirty years from now it won’t matter
But what will matter is what you’ve learned
And how you used it

By Alisha Ricks