By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
I sometimes think of how great it would be to be able to look at a piece of art and know if it is real or not by examining it, to know the fingerprint of the artist so well, that a counterfeit would not fool me. To acquire that level of knowledge would take a lot of time and effort; you would need to truly know the artist. In most cases, the artist is long gone, but their works remain. It is by studying their works, immersing yourself in them, that you can ever hope to be able to tell the difference between an authentic work of art, and a fake. Why would anyone want to do that? Why even care? Because authorship is important. It is not just a matter of talent; a forger must be very talented to be able to copy a great work of art. But a forger is not creative; he is just a pretender whose talents are misused. The author of a work imparts it with some of its own self, creating something new; authorship gives the work it’s value. When we search for authorship, we are searching for truth. Why? Because truth matters, and deep down, we know it. But learning to discern the truth takes effort, and time. And accepting truth requires a willingness to deal with its consequences. It means valuing truth above comfort, valuing truth above convenience. “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).
Truth matters; it is everything. If you doubt that, think back to a time you discovered you had been lied to, betrayed. Betrayal can cause one of the deepest wounds in the human heart. It makes you question everything, even the truth of who you are; it affects your ability to trust. Unfortunately, I have quite a few of those stories to look back on, and I am sure the same is likely to be true for you. The human condition is such that we hurt each other, sometimes willingly, but many times unknowingly. We become so accustomed to a life of lies and half-truths that we believe the biggest lie of all…that we can’t handle the truth. But truth matters. If we want to learn to discern the truth, we must immerse ourselves in the Truth. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” (Jn 14:6). The world will try to dazzle us with counterfeits, with lies adorned with bits of truth, but it is up to each of us to choose. Do we want to live the life of truth we were created for, or do we choose to believe that we are not worth it after all? It is in Christ that we find the Truth of who we are.
A work of art has worth by its connection to its author, even when it has been damaged but not destroyed. Its value is such that experts will spend painstaking hours carefully restoring it to its original glory. The same is true for us. “We are God’s work of art” (Eph 2:10). If we look in the mirror of God’s love and look past the scratches and the damage, we will see the image of the One who created us, inviting us to trust in Him. “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). Who would be better suited to restore an original work than the very author of the work? When we surrender to His care and allow Him to pour love in each of our wounds, He painstakingly restores us to the image of His Son. “He restores my soul” (Ps 23:3). By his authority as creator not only can God restore His work, but He can make of us something completely new. Trust in Him, because in the end, each tear and drop of sweat will be worth it. “Behold, I make all things new… Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true” (Rev 21:5).
We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.