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Tom Scotus

As You Think, So You Are

Satyr Mask

What are you thinking right now? What thoughts occupy your mind most of the time? We are so close to our thoughts that we don’t give them much thought. But our thoughts reveal the condition of our souls, which, in turn, determines our destinies. In our day to day lives, we all wear “masks” which, to a large degree, hide who we really are.

This is not true of very young children. We can usually tell what’s on their minds by what they say, their facial expressions and their body language. Gradually, children learn to hide, to some degree, their thoughts and feelings. Over time, they learn to be like most adults, hiding their true selves behind masks.

Most of us assume different masks for different situations. We wear one mask when dealing with our employers, another when dealing with our children, a different one around close friends, etc. This may make us wonder who we really are.

If you want to progress in the spiritual life, you must learn to be critically aware of your thoughts. Learn to look into your heart, as objectively as possible. What you think about most of the time reveals what is most important to you. Your deepest thoughts reveal your priorities, what you treasure, what you hate, etc. They reveal what you really think about others and about God. Now, would you feel comfortable if everyone could see your deepest desires, fantasies, and thoughts? How do you think others would then judge you?

Most of us would feel deeply embarrassed and ashamed if we knew that others could see our most private thoughts. This is one reason we wear masks. Our clothes symbolize this psychological need to “hide” from others (and from God). There is nothing immoral about our physical nakedness. The root of our sinfulness resides in our hearts.

What should most alarm us is not so much that we are sinful, but that we are usually comfortable in our sinfulness. We tend to rationalize the evil we do, say and think but condemn the evil we see in others. We believe our inner thoughts are absolutely private. We usually feel secure behind our masks and believe we are who we seem to be. Finally, we fail to become critically aware of our inner selves. All of this is a deadly deception. God sees through our masks as if they were not there. He knows our every secret act and every secret thought.

I believe that when we die we will stand spiritually naked before God and the whole host of heavenly beings. That will be a day of incredible shame for us if we do not become holy while on earth. So let us become acutely aware of every thought we have, and let us ensure that our thoughts are always good, never evil. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs, 23:7).