This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Wednesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week In Ordinary Time
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The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.”
[To all our readers: Since I am on retreat this week, I invited a few students I know to write some meditations for my blog. Please let them know what you think. God bless you! - Fr. Alfonse]
Cleansing the outside. We see this all the time nowadays, a fixation on outside appearance and disregard for true inner worth. Weight-loss adds, hair loss treatments…It seems like everywhere we turn, someone is fixing up their face, their body, or their resume. It’s hard to tell what’s real anymore.
I go to an all-girls high school, and luckily, we often don’t care about appearance. Who do we have to impress, anyway? For this reason, my classmates and I roll out of bed, throw on our uniforms, and put minimal thought into our looks. Forget makeup and straightening hair…we sport bedhead look with pride.
It’s nice to be surrounded by this environment. We learn to value people for what’s underneath, not the clothes they wear or the makeup they cake on. But I’d be lying if I said I never see excessive “outer cup cleansing.”
Our acceptance of bedheads and raw faces is rare. It is a concept that fades away the minute we look at a magazine, watch TV, or even go out for a football game. Quite honestly, I barely even recognize many of my classmates at school dances! Despite our best efforts to resist it, teenagers – and all of us, for that matter – are surrounded by a superficial culture. It seems like a mask must be put over everything to make it appreciated or acceptable. Your face isn’t good enough. Cover it with makeup. You’re not pretty enough. Wear less clothing. Your grades aren’t high enough. Stay up all night, or cheat if you have to.
No matter what we do, our true selves are just never “enough.” Just look at social media. For a teenager, it can be a form of expression, a way to share ideas and communicate with one another. But it also can become a trap that tempts us to build ourselves up, to create an often false representation of who we are. It leads us to find our worth in the “likes” we get and the followers we have. We become so focused on building up a persona and trivializing things that we are almost desensitized to depth, ignoring the things that actually matter.
Now I’m not saying that having Facebook or wearing makeup is a sin; however, it can easily lead to sins – vanity, pride separation from God – when we are defined by it. It’s of course okay to take pride in our appearance or use social media, but we must ensure that these tools are not used as masks, but as windows. They must allow others to see into our hearts, where hopefully, they find Christ, as well.
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? God made our bodies in His image. For this reason, we must respect them and treat them like the Temples of the Holy Spirit that they are. But there is something more spectacular about us: our souls. God could care less about our figure, our salaries, or our looks; none of that matters to Him. It is our souls that He examines. It is our souls that have the chance to ascend into Heaven eternally. Our bodies – merely temporary vessels of His love – are the shell left behind.
This soul is unique for each of us. It is where we drive our worth. God loves us for our inner selves: our thoughts, our prayers, and our actions. He sees us as we truly are: sons and daughters of the Father.
It’s the world that complicates things, reflecting a false idea about what it means to have worth and be loved. But the world is wrong. No matter whether you are in high school or on your death bed, this applies to you.
The world screams that you must make money to be successful. But God tells you a path towards Heaven is the only true success. And that path is priceless.
I could go on and on. The point is, each of you was created with purpose and worth. For this reason, from the moment of your conception, God entrusted to you your very own Guardian Angel and instilled in you an intimate and profound love. He created you with a mission in mind and a purpose because He values you for YOU.
Despite the world coaxing us to all to fall victim to its lies, we must remain steadfast and resist the temptation to fill our cups with fleeting pleasure and false sources of worth. This leads only to decay, both on the inside and outside as a reflection of its inner joy.
God pours His very blood into a cup for our sake.
What you are willing to give in return?
This meditation was written by Faith. She writes frequently on faith. You can find her blog at http://heavensboulevard.blogspot.com/ (51)