Wednesday, August 22, 2018
In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. – Matthew 7:17-18
In the manner of stating a fact, Christ speaks of the nature of fruit trees and human beings. A good tree produces good fruit; a bad tree produces bad fruit; and by their natures they cannot do otherwise.
Within this realm of good producing good and bad producing bad, wise souls have tried to teach me with a variety of sayings. A farmer once taught me, “Do not do business with a man who kicks his dog.” A wise business person cautioned me, “I never enter into a contract with a man who cheats on his wife.” A wise mentor of mine once shared, “A liar can never be completely trusted.”
Integrity is a virtue that requires a multi-dimensional understanding. Integrity requires to be measured in the breadth of one’s activities, not just here and there. Integrity requires to be measured in the height of one’s activities, matters both small and great. Integrity requires to be measured in the depths of one’s soul, in the motives, intentions, and determinations within. And integrity also requires to be measured over the dimension of Time.
In college, I turned my ankle playing basketball. It became swollen, rather painful, but with Time, the ankle seem to return to good health. But as the years went by, I would have recurring problems with that ankle. Then finally I had that foot and ankle x-rayed. And lo and behold … they found a hairline, stress fracture in my ankle. And because of that hidden fracture, my ankle had lost it integrity. So often, this is the case … the fractures within, the hidden fractures, result in an ongoing lack of integrity.
A blessing of God’s Mercy and Grace is the ability to heal those hidden fractures. When we take the time and make the serious effort to reveal our inner places to ourselves and to God, sometimes even to others … the integrity can be restored. And when the integrity is restored … so then also can the goodness.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz