No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, …You cannot serve God and mammon. … Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:24-25)
Therefore, whoever wishes to love God and to beware of offending Him, let such a one cleanse the upright intention of his heart from all duplicity. In this way he will “think of the Lord in goodness and seek him in simplicity of heart.” (Wisdom 1:1) (St Augustine on Matthew 6:24-25)
These words from the gospel of Matthew ring with such truth. We are often divided over where to place our loyalty in life, and this can be a real impediment to seeking the Kingdom of Heaven. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other…you cannot serve God and mammon.” St. Augustine goes on to comment on these verses stating that if one does not want to offend God but to love God, it is important that the upright intention of one’s heart be cleansed from all duplicity. What is duplicity? How do we cleanse ourselves from it?
The Webster Dictionary describes duplicity in the following manner: Duplicity comes from a Latin word meaning “double” or “twofold,” and its original meaning in English has to do with a kind of deception in which you intentionally hide your true feelings or intentions behind false words or actions. If you are being duplicitous, there are two yous: the one you’re showing and the one you’re hiding. And—key to the idea of duplicity—you’re hiding yourself in order to make a person believe something that’s not true.
The way we overcome duplicity in ourselves is by being transparent. We reveal the “you” we are seeking to hide by taking off the outer mask we wear in life. We take off the mask by remembering the Lord’s humility in His suffering on the Cross. There is a point in life where you come to the end of yourself like the prodigal son in the parable from Luke. The prodigal son, once he took the inheritance his father gave him, wasted it on the false masks he donned in his many journeys, that only took him further away from who he was. When he found himself feeding on the food of swine and swimming in their mud, he came to his senses. He remembered what he had and what he had lost in taking leave of his father. He made his journey back home expecting nothing, only hoping that his father would hire him as a servant. In this journey back home, we renounce the false masks we don seeking only to come back to our true selves. We do so by heeding the teaching of Christ: “apart from me you can do nothing.”
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
With love in Christ,