IF WE WANT to know the real, ultimate truth of things, we need to go to God. The simple reason is that he is the creator of everything and holds the truth of everything. In fact, he is the creator of truth and he is truth himself.
We have to overcome the prevailing idea that truth is a matter of coming out with pieces of evidence, data, facts, statistics, etc. To be sure, those things help in leading us to the truth. But they too can also mislead us, and they can do that in a very convincing way.
Yes, truth can and should only be pursued in the context of our vital relationship with God. If we just depend on our own powers, forget it. We would just be playing around, chasing after the wind, chasing after our own tail.
We would just put ourselves at the mercy of our own interest, whatever it may be, and fail to serve the common good and to give glory to God which what truth is supposed to accomplish. With God, truth always comes with charity. Truth based on facts and data but without charity is no truth at all.
St. Augustine said something relevant to this point. “Noverim te, noverim me,” he said. “Lord, let me know you and know myself.” He was referring to the quest for self-knowledge which is also a very complicated process because man is a great mystery even to oneself. But he realized it was only by knowing God that he would have a better knowledge of his own self.
Obviously, since knowing the truth requires a vital and intimate relationship with God, it would also require great effort from us. In fact, it would require a lot of sacrifice and the compliance to what Christ himself said once — that if we want to follow him, we need to deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16, 24)
Thus, we have to understand that we cannot get close to the truth unless we are willing to make sacrifices. We have to learn to suffer for the truth. That’s simply because our present condition of our human limitations, weaknesses and sin, with temptations always hounding us, would demand from us not only effort but also sacrifice, since we need to be purified.
During this Lenten season, let us therefore intensify our spirit of sacrifice and penance. Let us recover the appreciation of corporal mortifications, like fasting and abstinence, and go through some forms of self-denial like avoiding gossiping and back-biting, hate speech especially during this election campaign period, etc.
We have to understand that fasting is not simply about food and drinks, but also about the use of the gadgets and the new technologies, about our tendency to splurge in our daydreams, dangerous imagination, sinful memories and desires.
Let’s see to it that all these should have the effect of sharpening our yearning for God, our love, compassion, patience for the others. These practices should not just be purely negative practices of self-privation. They should be forms of self-emptying that would fill us more and more with charity.
Let’s see to it that all these bring us closer to the truth as revealed to us in full by Christ. In other words, that these things make us more and more like Christ who is the way, the truth and the life for us. (cfr. Jn 14, 6) We have to understand that we can only be in the truth to extent that we identify ourselves with Christ.
As we can see, the quest for truth is primarily a religious concern before it is a human task. It involves our relation with God. This truth about truth should be spread widely to overcome the trend to associate it simply with our own human ways./PN