In our first reading today, we have an instruction on the virtue of integrity. Integrity is that virtue by which we show that we are who we say we are, that we are in our secret moments what we are in our public ones, that we walk the walk and talk the talk. Our first reading speaks of the blessings of a life of integrity: “Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.” Seeking the Lord in truth is the cornerstone of integrity, because to be people of integrity we have to find him in the simplicity of our hearts.
Integrity requires steadfast faith and careful study: “incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity.” If we seek the Lord’s will and open our minds and hearts, we will receive that will in God’s time. Exposing our hearts and minds to Scripture and meditation will allow God to form us in his ways.
Integrity requires patient acceptance of our station of life: “Accept whatever befalls you, when sorrowful, be steadfast, and in crushing misfortune be patient…” Being people of faith is easy in good times, but being people of faith in hard times requires character, and allows God to hone that faith to be a source of real strength.
Integrity requires trust in God: “Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way…” Trust is following God, not knowing where he will lead you, but knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that wherever he leads you will be for the greatest possible good.
Integrity requires humility too, as the apostles found out when they reached Capernaum. It doesn’t take any integrity to declare oneself the greatest, it requires integrity to know that any greatness that we might have is really a sharing in the awesome greatness of our God.
The Psalmist instructs us today: “Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.” May that commitment be a commitment to integrity and a sharing in the life of God.