You recall the phrase 'dress to impress'? So often we try to take on this statement, going to extremes to constantly be putting on a show for those around us. We try to put on a show for everyone, hiding our true selves, what we feel deep down, so to make life seem like it's perfect. If you tell this lie long enough, you may actually start to believe it yourself. One of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and for both the current and future generations of children and teenagers, is to show them how it's okay to have imperfections, to make mistakes, to have failures. In showing this, we also show how we can overcome the trials with God by our side. We are called to be humble disciples, moving past mistakes to become stronger, not hiding them and putting on a pretty face. Are you dressing to impress?
Today's Gospel states: 'Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you' (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18).
Today's reading talks about how we need to pray in a way that is not boastful, but is private and solely meant to build relationship with God. When it comes to living lives of faith, we too often will put on a display. We'll attend mass, say the prayers, say grace, do work to help our communities. However, when it comes to what is deep in our hearts, it may not be such an open show. There could be pain, hurt, aching, and you try to cover it up to make it seem as if everything is fine. We need to let God in, and ask for the help and trust of those around us as well in order to truly be people of faith. Take some time today to pray and ask God to help you be your true self and stop hiding.
Today we pray:
Thank You for showing me that it's okay to be humble and hopeful. Guide me and help me to be open about my true self with you and those closest to me.
I pray in Your most holy name, Amen.