I was watching Mother Angelica on EWTN last night of a rebroadcast from the late 90’s. She said something so profound, as she always does. I’m going to emphasis on her subject.
Why is it, we can look at Saints like St. Augustine of Hippo, a man who lived and died from 354 to the year 430, who before he was a Saint, was just a repentant soul, moving away from adultery, fornication, and worldly things and moving in the direction toward God, away from a life of sin, and say, Boy what a great SAINT! But when we look at our own family members, friends and people in our community, doing exactly the same things as the greatest Catholic saints, we call them hypocrites. “Look at so & so! Preaching to me about how I should live and she did the same things I am!”
Lets define hypocrite: :
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Our Lord severely rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16). “The hypocrite’s hope shall perish” (Job 8:13). The Hebrew word here rendered “hypocrite” rather means the “godless” or “profane,” as it is rendered in Jer. 23:11, i.e., polluted with crimes.
Now, how can we call someone a hypocrite, who has through life experiences, made many serious mistakes, is repenting and is trying to amend them through seeking Christ and returning to Him and the church He created?
The difference between a Saint in progress and a Hypocrite is one lies about his religion and faith. The other lays his life down in search for his religion and faith. And its very easy to distinguish between the two souls.
If you find yourself telling your repenting friends & family members, your not the same, chances are they are working on sainthood and not working to be a hypocrite.
When we hear non repenting souls, who make excuses for their sinful behavior using this name against repenting souls, it is the one calling who needs to look in the mirror and stop justifying their sinfulness, with lack of understanding in which the word is actually defined.
Before the word has a chance to leave your mouth, check yourself first. God never changes. What God did to St. Augustine of Hippo, (Not taking away from his Sainthood) He does to many souls, no matter what century they are living in. Are we to then call the “Prodigal Son” a hypocrite, or should we give him the encouragement to return home as fast as he can?