St. Bartholemew (aka Nathaniel) was the only one of the Twelve praised by Jesus for a quality: “no duplicity in him”. Often it seems very hard not to be duplicitous, not to be dishonest. Yet Jesus, deceiving no one in his dealings with everyone, knew and practiced honesty. This honesty is not only about being fair or telling the truth, but goes very deep into our souls: it does not deceive one’s God, one’s neighbor, oneself.
Maintaining and growing in our spiritual life demands honesty on all three fronts; it is necessary if the soil is to receive and make grow the seed. Bartholemew’s lack of deceit made him interpret Jesus in the words, “What good can come from Nazareth?” Honest, even forthright, but needing the assurance that, “if you believe, you will see things greater than you can imagine!” It takes great honesty to really believe.
–John Kilgallen, SJ, a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.