No More Jekyll and Hyde
Wednesday, April 18th Gospel Reflection
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. (Jn 3:19-21)
She works in the food pantry at church, but she’s living with a man and it isn’t her husband. He distributes communion but is addicted to pornography. The young man leads youth group but has the mouth of a sailor around his peers. She tells you to forgive and to carry the cross with Christ but then rails about her injustice at work.
Robert Louis Stevenson, among many other authors, have explored this juxtaposition of personality. Stevenson’s work, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, has “Jekyll developing a secret potion that allows him to separate the good and evil aspects of his personality. He was thereby able at will to change into his increasingly dominant evil counterpart, Mr. Hyde.”
The Truth of Christ is like that potion that separates the good from the parasitic evil, the Truth that draws the line in the sand. Humans can do good things because they know instinctively what is right and wrong. However, in the darkness of our fallen hearts, there is evil that we refuse to bring into the light. We justify our sinful actions with our good actions like a ledger sheet, balancing out our credits and debits. Eventually, we have justified our sins for so long that our sins appear right, or “not as bad as other people’s sins.”
Yet Christ himself is the antidote for our bi-polar actions. We know his desire is for us to end this Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle for there is no happiness in living a lie. He wants these actions brought out into the light, not to condemn but to heal. He desires a pure confession for the sins committed in the darkness as well as the desire to hide those sins. Christ wants us to be born again – through the waters of baptism and the spirit of confirmation. He wants us to live this life fully in him as adopted sons and daughters of God. This full adoption in Christ adds spirit and life to our acts of service so we are not just going through the motions of right action. We are fully alive in Him and this happiness is the contagion and the holy gravity that draws others to the love of Christ.
As we prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, allow Christ to draw you out of the darkness and into the light of his love. Hold fast to the truth that happiness can only be found in the arms of our heavenly Father through Christ His Son.
 Vicky Lebeau, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” at https://www.britannica.com.
 Art by Thomas Blackshear, “Forgiven.”
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Christ tends to use black/white categories. His approach is not meant to gloss over the very fallen and complicated reality of our fallen nature, but illustrate the trajectory of our final judgment, when we submit or decline to believe in the Christ. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that wholeness or inner-peace is experienced when all of our appetites find alignment, and are not at war with one another. The reality is, as fallen beings, we tend to be fragmented. Where we expose these fragmented parts of ourselves to Him, He brings them into alignment and bestows a simplicity to the soul, where there is not a contrast between good and evil, but purity and goodness. This involves a process - but the end of the process is black/white. We cannot be saved if we definitively choose to not expose our fragmented self to Christ, and believe and trust in His healing power. In such a case, we prefer that no light will shine on us.
A concrete recommendation is to attend confession by utilizing an examination of conscience. Many times people go to confession with the sins they are conscious of, becoming unaware of the other areas that also are opposed to good will. The examination of conscience, prayerfully examined, will act as a mirror, bringing to the surface by the light of Christ, that which needs healing.
Excellent article and very well written - concise, cogent, logical and truthful. Most impressive!