You’ve Heard About Deception, But What About Holy Deception?

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

For a few days I’ve had this problem. I don’t exactly want to reveal the entire truth to someone only because I know being straight with them may cause them to make unfair assumptions. It could jeopardize what I see as the righteous path ahead for them and for me.

I keep thinking about how I can frame it so that I’m telling the truth, not revealing the whole truth and at the same time obeying the Lord. In my past I was portrayed as quite a deceptive person and someone who could wear a million faces to get what he wants. Now that I’m Christian, I’ve learned to take from the old me and use it for the new. What I mean to say is that I always try to use these talents but for a good cause.

Still, I found it very difficult to go against the letter of the law and couldn’t help but feel terrible about practicing a little deception. I often soothed myself with the story of Pope Francis who lied to the Military Junta in Argentina with the ultimate goal in sight of saving many lives which he did.

He helped so many people escape that brutal regime. I love Pope Francis. He is a perfect example of a Jesuit. He is a man not afraid to get his pristine garments dirty. He doesn’t live a life revolved around the rule book and is willing to jump into the depths of the battle, get a few bruises, go home and wash the dirt off and begin a new day.

Often we think of the spiritually perfect as someone who lives in a cave and obeys the letter of the law. There they sit and pray all day not allowing any form of deceit consume them. Maybe that is a good description of a person leading what the Church recognizes as a life of spiritual perfection.

In the Gospel Jesus calls us all to a life of perfection. Yet, not all of us can live in a desert and remove ourselves from the world so how do we obey His command to be perfect? I conclude that maybe the perfection Jesus requires of us all is the sort of perfection lived in the vocation we’ve been called to? Husband, wife, son or daughter. Brother, Sister, Deacon, Priest, theologian, lay person.

I decide to take a drive to the nearest monastery and clear my head. I hop in my car and listen to my new audio book by St. John Chrysostom titled, “Treatise on the priesthood”. I had only downloaded it the night before. In it he describes his own calling to the priest hood. It’s very good to hear his story on joining the priesthood and his mothers discussion with him regarding it.

St. John deceived his good friend Basil and concealed something from him for what he believed would prove to be good for everyone in the end. Basil was very upset by it even crying over it. St. John takes him by the hand, gives him the Holy Kiss and laughs out loud as though it’s nothing.

He carries on in the first book on this treatise that deception is O.K as long as it has a righteous end and done for virtuous reasons. He cited the many examples of deception practiced in the Bible that had a good end. For example he spoke of Saint Paul pretending to be Jewish in order to convert the Jews.

He related how Paul circumcised one person because he wanted to convert them even though he was very against the idea someone had to be circumcised to be a part of the Church. Sometimes he threw his own rule book out the window and made some sacrifices in order to save others.

It was like a weight off my shoulders that one of my favourite Saints would be the one to ease my conscience a little concerning this thing. It was as if the Lord was hitting home on two subjects close to my heart. Those two things were the possibility of being elevated to the dignity of Holy orders as Deacon, and the other a better understanding of deception and its function in the Christian life.

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