Okay, okay, I know it’s not even Lent yet, much less Easter, but chocolate is already on my mind! Do you ever remember as a kid taking a bite out of a chocolate bunny, only to find out that it was just a shell rather than solid chocolate? Nothing was more disappointing than to find out that nothing was in the middle— even though the chocolate on the outside was good, the bunny was hollow!
I started re-reading “Rediscover Catholicism” with an RCIA candidate a few weeks ago, and one thing in particular has really intrigued me—the fact that we’re called to live authentic lives. To live authentically is to be real, sincere, genuine, hiding nothing. Our culture is largely based on appearances, which ultimately are superficial and don’t show what’s on the inside. Matthew Kelly points out, “Our hunger is not for appearances, nor is it for the fleeting and superficial; it is for something of substance. We are hungry for truth. The people of today are starving for the authentic, thirsting for the tiniest droplet of sincerity, aching to experience the genuine.”
We’re hungry for something lasting, something real. When other people meet us, is that what they find? Or are we like the chocolate bunny, attractive on the outside without anything of substance within?
I heard a story once from a Catholic speaker that in the Greek and Roman days, some column makers who wanted to save a buck would fill their columns with wax and sell them as genuine marble columns. They looked good on the outside, but the buyers soon discovered they had been scammed—the columns they had thought to be pure marble were really just hollow shells. Some etymologists even trace the word “sincere” back to the Latin “sine” + “cerus” which means “without wax”!
As we prepare to enter into this season of Lent, it’s the perfect time to take a good, hard look at ourselves. Are we sincere, “without wax”? Are we filled with Christ, Who makes us genuine and real? Or do we fill ourselves with a cheap imitation, with our own selfish wants, material things and money and TV and smartphones and a million other distractions? When we fill ourselves with wax, we sooner or later find ourselves to be hollow, and the state of our hearts soon starts to show on the outside, through selfishness and pride and resentment and other vices.
This week for me is always crunch time for figuring out my Lenten penance. Maybe the best way to figure out what God desires for me (and you!) to do for Lent is to start with this question: How can I become more authentic this Lent? How can I surrender more completely to what God wants to do with me so that He can fill me and be the center?
The more authentic we become, the more others will be able to see Christ in us. This is the most powerful thing we can do, before anything else—to become the person we’re called to be. Only then can others be drawn to that beauty, that goodness that comes from God alone. What our world needs more than anything else are authentic witnesses, people who have surrendered to God and strive to be sincere disciples!
“At every moment, the entire modern world kneels before us, begging, pleading, beckoning for some brave man or woman to come forward and lead them with the example of an authentic life.”
So what’s holding you back? What do you need to give over to God this Lent that’s keeping you from taking on this challenge to become an authentic disciple? Christ is calling YOU! Join me this week in taking time to ask him how you can become more authentic, more sincere, and more genuine than ever this Lent. I’m praying for each of you as we start this Lenten journey together! Come, Holy Spirit!