The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones

September 22, 2019

Dear Visitors and Parishioners,

The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones

and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.

A very common self-accusation during the Sacrament of Con­fession is the admission of having told some "white lies". Usually accompanied  by some excuses, like trying to minimize  the impor­tance of the lies.

What is  a  white  lie?  The  dictionary  usually  explains  them  as: a harmless or trivial lie, especially on told to avoid hurting someone's feelings. Let's do some examination of some of the elements of this definition. To begin  with  it acknowledges  that  it is a  lie,  that  it  is a denial of truth. Now, how can a denial of truth be harmless or trivial? With this we bring  the  concept  of  truth  to  the  realm  of that what is subjective. Do we have within ourselves the power to reduce truth to something relative, harmless, or trivial?

Whenever  we manipulate  the truth we try to manipulate some­ thing that is whole in itself and try to reduce it to something that is imperfect and which denies its own nature and which we use for our own convenience. A white lie is always harmful to the person to whom we are depriving of the whole truth.

Let us look at our motivations for white lies. We say we tell them in order to protect others. Is there a reason for this double morality? Is there a double scale to treat people? Jesus tells us that we cannot have two masters. We cannot be split in the way we rationalize the truth. We should always attach ourselves to the truth, the real one, not to the colored truth.

Therefore, white lies are just lies, no matter how we color them. The usual excuse that we tell them to avoid hurting someone's feel­ings also loses its importance in that we are sacrificing the truth to save face or avoid having to deal with socially painful situations.

We are all encouraged by our commitment to the Gospel to be people of the truth, the whole truth without any colors or excuses. Jesus told us in a very clear language that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In our journey of faith, we are to imitate Jesus, who is the Truth.

-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.