Madonna House

The Truth of Life

by José de Vinck

The truth of life is not a matter of self-perfection, not a lonely road to personal salvation, but a headlong plunge into the turmoil of complex reality, a loss of selfishness in the seething ocean of the joys and sorrows, births and deaths, victories and defeats of the mass of humanity struggling toward its final and complete fulfillment.

Yes, we still live in an imperfect, suffering, hurting world. No amount of love will ever do away with the pains of rebuke, frustration, ingratitude, misunderstanding, malice, or plain stupidity.

But the difference is that, with love in our hearts, these miseries will no longer be overwhelming: We will have learned to swim in the moving, salty, treacherous but exalting sea of mankind, to love it in spite of everything.

And if we ever do come to perfect wisdom, we will love it because of everything, for we will be able to see the striving behind the sin, the frustrated hope behind the despair, the failures of love behind the acts of malice, and infinite mercy covering them all.

José de Vinck, a friend of Madonna House for many, many years, died last year at age 100.