IT’S definitely a lifelong affair. We can never say we already enjoy integrity in this life, because in the next breath we would already know that we have to struggle to keep at least some semblance of it.
Such is our condition here in this life. The best that we can say is that it is a dynamic thing, and that we can only have it in a very tentative way. We have to keep fighting for it.
Integrity is all about a sense of completeness and wholeness as well as order, harmony, consistency, honesty, etc. All of these we would enjoy if our first parents did not fall into sin. This was how God created us in the beginning. But since we lost that state of original justice, we would have to work it out with God’s help, of course.
That is why we have to understand that any pursuit of this ideal of integrity has to start and end with God. Any understanding of integrity outside of this would already be compromised right from the start. Being our Creator in whose image and likeness we have been created, God is the ultimate foundation, source and goal of our integrity.
Thus, we cannot overemphasize the need for God and the ways we can be with God in order to have some kind of integrity in our life. Especially in the area of the senses and emotions, we have to learn how to discipline them and submit them to the dictates of reason that in turn should be submitted to the impulses of our Christian faith, hope and charity.
St. Paul already vividly described to us the serious predicament we are in regarding this. “I do not do the good I want,” he said, “but the evil I do not want is what I do…I see in my members
another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.” (Rom 7,19.23)
He followed this dark assessment with the following words: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then he gave his own answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7,24-25)
We need to educate our feelings and emotions to discern the ultimate object and purpose of our life, who is God. They should not be allowed to be simply led by the impulses of our hormones, instincts and the many unclear trends and conditionings in the environment.
Our feelings and emotions have to be guided by our higher faculties of intelligence and will that in turn should also be guided by faith, hope and charity. They have to be trained to see God in everything, and to be happy and even excited with Him.
Otherwise, they would just be stranded and entangled with the material qualities of things or with the different worldly conditionings we have. In this way, we become insensitive to anything spiritual, much less, supernatural realities.
Integrity is when our feelings and emotions learn to find, love and serve God in any situation we may be in.
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