Self Deceit

Friends in Christ, after the death of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel split in two: the southern portion was called Judah, and the Northern part was called Israel. For many years, these kingdoms were ruled by corrupt kings, and after all the Lord God had done for the people they began to follow the ways of the inhabitants there, leading immoral lives and committing idolatry.
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It sounds a lot like our world today: we Christians, living in really, a pagan world – working, going to school, associating with such a world – we are supposed to be lights for the world, we influencing others for the good – but it’s easy today to be very influenced by the bad example we see around us. That is what happened to the people then. What did God do? He allowed them to find out where this leads – what kind of life you get when you leave the True God. Their whole world came apart, disintegrated; and they were overrun by their enemies, something they never thought could happen. How could this happen to the People of God then, and how can such a thing happen to a Christian in today’s world?
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The saints speak of one of the deadliest faults in the spiritual life, which is called Self Deceit. In a hundred ways, we deceive ourselves or allow ourselves to be deceived, and in this way, the devil pulls us away from God. It is so important to be honest with ourselves. In our daily meditation time we should be looking honestly at ourselves before God. Facing the truth of who we are. Jesus says, we look at the speck in our brother’s eye, yet we do not see this giant log stuck in our own eye. We can easily be blind to our own defects.
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Father Faber in one of his conferences speaks of how even so-called pious people can be totally deceived. We mix our devotions so easily with worldliness. We have our many prayers, and yet we must have many clothes and comforts. We give alms yes; but then we indulge ourselves in luxuries. We have the Holy Sacraments, and yet we eat and drink to excess. Works of mercy one day, conniving and manipulation of others the next.    – it is so easy to deceive ourselves, and allow the world to take us over, even while keeping an external veneer of piety.
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We also deceive ourselves by confusing desires with facts. For example, we may read a wonderful book by a saint about the virtue of patience; we ponder it in the chapel, we experience sweet feelings of the wisdom of what the saint is saying about patience. ‘Ahh, how beautiful is the spiritual life,’ we think. We think we are holy. Then we go home and at the least annoyance unload on our spouse with complaints and whining. We think we are so ‘spiritual,’ but thinking does not make it so.
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The Northern tribes of Israel lived lives of self-deceit, until it was too late. This should be a sign to us, to be honest with ourselves before God in our life.

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