Posted October 06, 2014:
The Truth That Sings (Part 3)

by Tom White.

Where do we find God? Where can even the unbeliever find God? Through what are called "the transcendentals": beauty, truth and goodness. These can be found everywhere, and they point to God, for he is Beauty, Truth, and Goodness (or Love).

In part 1 and 2 of this mini-series, we looked at beauty and goodness. Now let’s look at truth.

These days, it seems like truth is always under attack. Somebody is always publishing a book explaining how our most cherished beliefs are so much rubbish. But truth is such a beautiful thing, such a precious possession.

It often surprises me how irreverently truth is treated, but it shouldn’t. In my younger years I was just as smug and angry and scornful as those I now wonder about.

What is being attacked? Divine truth. Divine truth is not just words in a theology book: Truth is the ground on which we plant our feet; truth is the certainty and confidence that allows us to act; truth is the compass arrow inside us that points out our proper direction in life.

How can a person live without truth? What blindness and barbarity to attack it!

I once read truth described as a bell ringing in an empty sky. Amidst all the noise of every day, we hear that far-off bell that instantly pierces straight to our hearts. We don’t have to think about it; we know that it is the truth. We welcome it and turn ourselves toward it.

Archbishop Joseph Raya used to say, "The real truth is the truth that sings."

Our hearts are made for nothing less than divine life with God: nothing less satisfies our hunger for Truth.

The truth of man is that he was created in the image and likeness of God to share in the divine life. What a beautiful and uplifting teaching!

So what should our response to truth be? First, once we see it, we need to gratefully embrace it.

Then we must make ourselves stewards of that truth, putting aside all egotism, human respect, and intellectual fashion.

Truth is not something to play with. Surely, we must listen to others with humility and respect, but nonetheless we must not betray or compromise the truth, for, as Paul says, there is only one truth that will save us.

Thomas the Apostle wanted to see with his own eyes; he wanted to know. He needed to find the rock of truth on which he could plant his feet.

In our time, many of us are like Thomas. We need to ask all the questions and ponder all the answers, and that’s understandable enough. As Archbishop Raya used to say, "The Gospel is too good to be true." And he was right, in one way. From the worldly point of view, the promises of the Gospel seem absurd or like a fairy tale.

So, first of all, whatever questioning and searching it takes, we, like Thomas, need to find the truth. Then we need to become so confident of that truth that we are willing to plant our feet on it and say, "This is where I stand." Like Thomas, we need to get to the point where we can fall on our knees and say, "My Lord and my God."

The day has passed when we can be Sunday Christians; the times in which we live call for radical commitment. A man might be a husband, a father, a businessman, a member of the parish council, but before all else, he must be a Christian.

The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must become the rock on which we take our stand, on which we build our lives.

Think of the years of dedicated study needed to become a doctor or a concert violinist or an Olympic athlete. These things are good but they are perishable; they are passing.

Do we put even a tenth of that sort of dedication and effort into becoming better Christians even though we know that this is the path to eternal life with God?

The famous football coach, Vince Lombardi, used to say that winning isn’t everything: it’s the only thing. For us, Christianity shouldn’t be everything: it should be the only thing. Or, as Catherine Doherty used to say, "The only tragedy is not to become a saint."

Psalm 15 says it all:

Preserve me, God;

I take refuge in you.

I say to the Lord:

You are my God.

My happiness lies

in you alone.

He has put into my heart

a marvelous love

For the faithful ones who dwell in his land.

Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.

Never will I offer their offerings of blood.

Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord it is you who are

my portion and cup.

It is you yourself

who are my prize.

The lot marked out for me

is my delight.

Welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me.

I will bless the Lord

who gives me counsel,

who even at night

directs my heart.

I keep the Lord

ever in my sight.

Since he is at my right hand,

I shall stand firm

And so my heart rejoices,

my soul is glad.

Even my body

will rest in safety.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead,

Nor let your beloved

know decay.

You will show me

the path of life,

the fullness of joy

in your presence,

at your right hand

happiness forever.

Is the Lord our portion and cup? Is it he who is our prize? Do we stand firm at the Lord’s right hand? Do our hearts rejoice in him? Are our souls glad?

Let’s finish with a word from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

"Only in friendship [with Christ] are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation.

"And so today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.

"When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open wide the doors to Christ—and you will find true life. Amen." (From the homily at Pope Benedict’s inaugural Mass, April 2005)

Beauty, truth, and goodness, wherever we find them, are enormous helps and inspiration along the way. Let us seek them, cherish them, preserve them.

Parts 1 and 2 are online: under "Monthly Archives," May-June and September 2014.

The End


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