Monday, February 24, 2014

On Spiritual Schizophrenia

Here's my homily on James 4:7a for Tuesday of the Seventh Week of the Year.

James uses an odd word today.  In fact, its the only time this word is used in the scriptures.  Here’s the verse:

Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds. (James 4: 7a)

He creates a parallel between sinners and the double minded or two hearted, the dipsychoi (δίψυχοι).  The dipsychoi suffer from a kind of spiritual schizophrenia of the sort to which  the Lord was referring to when he said “No one can serve two masters.”

We’ve all suffered from a bit of dipsofrenia from time to time.  The little kid breaks the lamp, but when he gets caught he’s not the careless brat throwing the ball, now he’s the perfect child wrongly accused.  Or the married man who is the pillar of the community until he gets home and beats his wife, the priest who pretends to be celibate, while he’s having an affair.  The priest who preaches honesty while stealing from the collection or who tells others to be merciful, while plotting his revenge.

Nor are seminarians immune to the life of Jekyl and Hyde.  When to all appearances I'm purity and light, but I’ve given my heart to some secret sin.  When my surplice is without wrinkle, but my tongue is sharp and my shoulder cold. When my self-evaluation describes the Little Flower but my life looks more like Machiavelli.

So avoid dypsofrenia in all its devious little forms and you will live a much happier life.