I Wanna Be Like You

You would think that such megalomaniacs would live a lonely existence of their own making and many do, but because their megalomania is rooted in insecurity they attract others who, like them, need to be right about everything and need everyone else to conform. So the one who expects everyone to conform to his way of thinking attracts a group of people who do just that and they form a tribe– a political party, a religious sect or a gang. The group is strengthened by a clearly defined leadership structure, a clearly defined set of beliefs and behaviors. The group is made up of mutually admiring and supporting devotees, and as long as everyone in the group conforms, the ideal of unity and harmony exists and the group members are happy.

However, there will always be those who are outside the group and it is not long before everyone who will not be like them becomes the enemy. Having a shared enemy makes the group members feel secure and righteous, but it is not enough for the enemy to be out there. The enemy is out to destroy them, so the enemy must be attacked. This will cause the individual and the group to become increasingly isolated. As they become more isolated the attack on the enemy becomes more important because, if the solution did not solve the problem, they clearly did not do enough of it. So the attacks increase and the targets widen. No longer is it sufficient to attack only the enemy, but they must also attack all those who do not attack the enemy–for they are aiding and abetting the enemy.

Therefore the ones who threaten the group most are obviously the enemy from within–the traitor, the subversive one, the one who does not conform while pretending to be part of the group is the most dangerous of all. So before long the leader will find the “traitors” within the group. That person is blamed, and once blamed he will be ostracized, then excluded and destroyed.

Because the group is isolated and small they feel quite powerless against the gigantic enemy. However this action of expulsion and destruction of one of their own brings the group great euphoria. They feel the enemy has been defeated! We have won the battle! But of course, before long the old feelings of insecurity come back. There are still enemies out there, and probably still enemies within, but now they are hiding and so they are even more dangerous. Their pretense of belonging is even more treacherous so they must be found and eliminated. So the cycle continues and the search for the new sacrificial victim begins. Once found that new lamb will be slaughtered to solve the problem, defeat the enemy and restore peace to the tribe.,

What is the way out of this trap? To not desire to be someone else in the first place–to not desire what they are or what they have. The way out is also not to expect everyone else to be like you. Instead, we pursue the path of personal holiness. To be a saint is not to be someone else, but to be all that you were created to be. The desire to be someone else was the twisted form of something good. The desire to be transformed into someone else is actually  the God-given desire to be transformed into all that you were created to be. You longed to be better…but because of original sin you thought that would be obtained by becoming someone else. Instead the path before us is to become saints–to grow into holiness and wholeness– as St Paul writes, to “grow up to the full humanity of Jesus Christ.”

Each of the saints are totally unique and complete individuals. They are unique human creations of God who have grown up into the full humanity of Jesus Christ. They neither wish to become like anyone else, nor do they expect others to become like them. They understand that God calls each person to walk a unique path to holiness. Each person is a unique blend of gifts and potential. If only we could see the people God created us to be! If only we could get a glimpse of what we would be like if we were truly and completely redeemed! The sight of that glory would inspire and motivate us to forget the sad covetousness of wanting to be like someone else or the twisted covetousness of wanting others to be like us.  Instead of wanting to be someone else we long to be who we really are, and we long for others to go on that same journey of joy and sorrow.

So we take inspiration from the saints. They show us what we could be. They show us the way to full humanity in Christ. They show us what it means not to be someone else, but to be truly and wholly and radiantly ourselves.


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