The last time one of my books came out my wife read the blurb about the author and burst out laughing. The blurb was the usual bookseller’s blather trying to puff me as ‘the next Chesterton’ or as ‘well known author, apologist, speaker, broadcaster…blahblahblahblah.

None of it was untrue, but neither was it an accurate portrait of me as a person. It was hype and hyperbole and I felt like a hypocrite.

“Who writes this stuff?” my wife chortled.

“Well, sometimes I do,” I admitted sheepishly.

She roared with laughter, “You silly old fool!”

I smiled back, bemused at my own vanity, and grateful for a spouse who laughs at me.

Almost always, what people think of you isn’t real. It’s a fiction built up of their own partial knowledge, mis perceptions and prejudices. Furthermore, it’s constructed of a complex system of mixed messages that you send about yourself. Like my self-written blurb, the image we send out about ourself is not exactly untrue, but neither is it the whole truth. It’s a distorted image.

If this is true, is it any wonder that we so often feel so unloved or unappreciated? How can we be truly loved for who we truly are if no one can find out who we truly are because we transmit a compex show of lies, half truths and fractured images? If we try hard to be ‘transparent’ we only produce another phoney show which is even more complex in its deceitfulness.

The only we hope we have is to draw closer to the one true image–Christ Jesus–the image of the unseen God. In his beautiful encyclical Into the New Millennium John Paul the Great exhorts us to ‘cast out into the deep’ and behold the face of Christ. Then, as we contemplate the beauty, truth and goodness of Christ that same beauty, truth and goodness will start to be reflected in us.

When that happens all the hype, headlines, hyperbole fall away, and maybe, just maybe before its too late we may exhibit in or own lives Veritatis Splendor…the Splendor of Truth.