The Word Honesty comes from the honestas meaning an honor received from others, a kind of “standing in honor” before others (honor + stas (to stand)). It’s an interesting insight in the word that most people are willing to be a little phony in order to get vague appreciation or to be thought of well. (The whole cosmetics industry is based on this). But when one is actually “honored” in a formal way by others, there is an elevated sense that we need to truthfully deserve the honor. And thus honor calls forth honesty.

A similar concept is sincerity. The Word sincerity comes from the Latin as well: sine (without) + cera (wax). It seems that sculptors in the ancient world often used a hard, resin like wax, to hide their errors. But every now and then there was the perfect carving, with no wax, nothing phony about it, no coverups.

I thought about these words as I saw this commercial. In the ad the “honor” of engagement draws forth honesty and sincerity. The honesty of one person brings forth the honesty of the other and they both end up more relaxed in each others presence.

12 Responses

  1. Maggie Goff says:

    This is one of your best!!! Thank you.

  2. TaillerHuws says:

    It works! :-)

  3. Bill M. says:

    And they say Indians have no sense of humor. Nonsense!

    Thank you, Father.

  4. workingclass artist says:

    Great post Msgr. Pope

  5. Andy S. says:

    RE the etymology of [sincere], please cf. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sincere.

    • Etymologies are seldom agreed upon 100%. Sin + Cera is widely attested but a simple Wiktionary dismissal of it is not enough. Perhaps the author of that article could have less arrogantly said there are other theories including the theory he advances, which by the way is rather arcane, to my understanding of Romance language roots. Nevertheless, it is possible. Its fun to be a deconstructionist, but at the end of the day, I’d ask a little more evidence from those who would like to set aside what is widely attested.

  6. RichardC says:

    Book Of Josue (Joshua) 2: 4-5: “[4] And the woman taking the men, hid them, and said: I confess they came to me, but I knew not whence they were: [5] And at the time of shutting the gate in the dark, they also went out together. I know not whither they are gone: pursue after them quickly, and you will overtake them.”

    Later, in the New Testament, this is act is cited by St. James as an example of a good deed: Epistle Of Saint James: 2: 25: ” [25] And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?”

  7. susanna says:

    Wonderful. (Msgr, 10-1 in real life, that lady would have known the hair was fake.) :)

  8. MT says:

    Word derivations are wonderful. Today, so many fashionably tolerant relativists scream about “justice” while simultaneously rejecting truth. (Take the Trayvon Martin affair: shouts of “justice for Trayvon” were heard immediately, with little to no concern for determining the truth of the matter). But there can be no justice apart from truth. In the absence of truth, a “verdict” (verum + dicere — to tell the truth) can not be communicated. Without a genuine verdict, separating the guilty from the innocent is impossible, and, lamentably for our tolerant relativists, justice can not be separated from injustice. They desire justice and dismiss the only means to attain it. They shun the “verum” and are left only with the “dicere,” which they shout proudly from the rooftops, expecting the thing they desire most, justice, to flourish in the absence of the only thing that can deliver it.

  9. msa17 says:

    Rev. Msgr. Pope,
    Congratulations! :D
    “Veritas liberabit vos”/”The truth will set You free” (John 8:32)
    Blessed JP2 has cited it many times.
    http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/john-832_3177_1024x768.jpg
    Best wishes,
    msa17

  10. Annette Strachan says:

    And so, in the Temple, on this fifth Sunday in Lent, every scribe and Pharisee will admit before God they are sinners, not to mention the woman, meaning the rest of us.

  11. Annette Strachan says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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