To Thine Own Self Be True…

“To Thine Own Self Be True.  And it must follow, as the night follows the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.. ”

This often quoted statement from Shakespere’s Hamlet holds key to the things that are true for Christians today as it has for centuries.. So you say.. great so what does it mean for me ?  How does something like this penned as part of a play hundreds of years ago apply to me  ?  Glad you asked  !
During the course of human history, the lessons of morals and values have been passed down through generations through parables and oral history.  The explanations are sometimes lost, but the stories live on.. until someone comes about to point our the reasons behind the story or the tradition and the stories become new again, the understanding becomes more clear.  The lessons are taught again, and another generation comes to understand.
It is sometimes difficult to admit, that we lack some basic understanding of something, particularly if we really should already know it by what ever point we are in, in our lives.  It gives us a feeling of discomfort, maybe embarrassment, or even confrontation.  The question becomes what is it that we do when confronted with these ideas ?

Too often, particularly in today’s society, we have people who are quick to speak, and slow to learn.  We have a society, that is slower still to teach, instead of confront.  Who are more vested in being “right”, than sharing, than loving.
It is far too easy in today’s world, to get caught up in our very small lives. Apple, who because of its connection to the individual device market prefixed its devices with  “i-“.   How telling this is of where we are in the world today.

The world is caught up in values of greed, and consumption-ism. Where the only thing that matters is “i-“.

We are caught up in the labels, in the titles, the positions,the power and the possessions.
I invite you to consider, that the reasons for these problems are that we are not really being true to ourselves.

We are Christians.  We believe, in a loving God, who has made all men and women our brothers and sisters.  Great !

So what does this mean.  All men and women are our brothers and sisters.  THis is easy to say, but gets to be difficult, when those brothers and sisters do not hold the same belief system that we do.  It is not easy, when they fall away.  It is not easy when they hurt us.   It is not easy, when all of these things are true, AND,it is harder still to see these same problems when we are the ones who are carrying that burden and do not see where we are in that process.

So how do we fix this rather messed up place we have gotten to ?  How do we make a difference ?  How is it that we can change our world and ourselves ?

The answer is the same…  To thine own self be true.   Live your faith, learn your faith, and share your faith with those you meet.  Share, do not fight.    Listen and learn.

Education about our faith is probably the biggest problem facing the church today.   Learn your faith, ask the hard questions, READ !  Talk about your questions, your difficulties with a priest, deacon, religious, or friend.  You then need to go out and make the choices in your life, that reflect the faith you profess.

You don’t have to go off to some of the poorer countries in the world to be a missionary, to make a difference.  We do need those people.  You need to begin by making good choices, at home, at work, in life.

Standing up for the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, the hurting, the unloved.  These are things that can be done at home, now, where you are.  Sharing the love of Christ with those you meet.  This is what we are called to do.

We have people all around us who need the Love of God in their lives and God calls everyone, to be His hands and feet.
We are called to be His ears, His heart.  We may be the only sight of God this person has ever seen.  We may be the only reminder of God’s love that this person will have when it’s needed most.

St Francis is often quoted saying ” Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words”.  This should be the lamp stand upon which our faith in action is perched.    We should be making choices in line with our faith and those choices should be faith in action, and when actions fail, words prevail.

God showed us.  Jesus came into the world because of Love.  He chose the apostles and set up His church on earth.. because of love.  He gave us everything we needed to survive until he returns.  He showed us in healings, in miracles, in teachings what he wanted us to do. He died for us, and He lives for us.   He made us brothers and sisters, remember the Gentiles ?  They did not believe as the Jews did.  He made them our brothers and sisters.  Faith in action.

To thine own self be true.. Learn your faith…. Live your faith… Share your faith.

May God give you the gift of His Peace !

 

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