Etiquette or Hypocrisy?


I have often been accused of being “formal” in my dealings with people who are close to me. This is most likely true and I offer no defense. Such formality seems to place those who are close to us at a distance and may even seem “cold” and “reserved.” By this accusation, I am both plagued and, well, dare I say it? Honoured. Why is this?

I am plagued because the people I am close to, and they are few, I love so wholly and completely that to harm them or make them feel “held at arms length” is so disturbing to me I feel as though I might implode. Thus, I am always forced to confront in myself a sense of isolation that I never intend.

What is the other side of this coin? Well, let us consider this: Why is it we are inclined to put on our best, most “respectable” and polite behavior with the man at the checkout or the woman at the garage, our co-workers, our “bosses,” or people we perceive to be of great import and/or authority only to return home using foul language, crude humor, and lacking good manner and etiquette with those with whom we are close, as though they be undeserving of the basic consideration of even the most obscure stranger? That we seem utterly unconcerned with the idea that who we are, how we behave, affects the opinion our loved ones may have of us? In other words, I would appear noble to the world, but can be the “pig” that I am with my most beautiful and amazing wife. What sort of thinking is this?

Either I have not respect for my wife (and I love her more than myself) or I am a complete hypocrite when I appear in public. In other words, I spend a large portion of my life living a false image, an egoic creation that I think pleases the world regardless of the truth of my being. So which is true? If I truly am a respectable person–polite, kind, and good mannerly–then what must I think of my wife to be otherwise in her presence? Should not the woman I love not warrant the same consideration of Joe the Grocer or Julie the Mechanic?

Who are you?

Moreover, if my nature be a slobbish, inconsiderate pig, should I not do something to correct this sorry state of being rather than “fake honourability” before the world?

Such it is in the spiritual life. Jesus spoke of “whitewashed tombs all clean and shiny without, but within rotted bones and filth infested corruption.”

Let us as Christian not live dualistic lives. We must treat those whom we love with the same respect and decency we treat the world, or simply be ourselves in the world. If we fail even in the integrity of everyday life (little matters) how is it we are to be trusted in spiritual life (great matters)?

Look around your life. If there is something you would not say in the presence of pope or president, if there is something you would not watch in front of your six year old, if there is something you would not do in front of your mother or the supreme court, if so, there is no room for it in your life, your mind, your spirit, or your being. Be you therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect, and God bless you.

Let us pray:

O Lord, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant that I may learn perfect integrity with the help of Your Holy Spirit. May I behave in a manner worthy of your Heavenly Court even when I feel alone at home. May I realize that I am never truly alone, but that I always stand in the presence of you, the Most-High God. I ask this through Christ Our Lord.


May Almighty God bless you; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.


(C) Copyright 24 February 2019

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