WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE THE TRUTH OF THE
By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
Truth-seeking the truth- telling takes courage and hope.
Sometimes speaking the truth can back –fire, as this short story
illustrates. A very conscientious doctor told his patient the
truth that his days were numbered. “You have one week to live at
most. It is time to get your affairs in order. Is there anyone
in particular you would like to see before you die?” The man
opened wide his eyes, looked up and said.” Yes, another doctor.”
Several places in scripture, the Spirit of Truth is offered to
us, a Truth that will set us free. Jesus also said: “I am the
way, the truth and the life.” We live in a time of false
promises. People are finding that the promises made in the mass
media that offered us much are delivering very little. Many
today are eager to search deeper to find the truth. They are
spending a lot of time and energy seeking for lesser gifts when
God wants us to have it all and live our lives with hope and
meaning and fulfillment.
It takes much courage to be a truth-seeker and truth-teller in
our world today. In our own Dominican Community, we describe
ourselves as “Committed to Truth and Compelled to Justice.” In
doing this we make ourselves vulnerable, but that is the price
we pay to be a witness to our beliefs. The question often asked
in churches, “Do we as faith community accommodate our religion
and beliefs to fit our comfort level and our culture? Are we
more worried about being politically correct, rather than people
who speak the truth with courage and hope?”
Where do we begin in our search for truth?
We start with ourselves individually and in the services and
institutions under our jurisdiction. Richard Rohr, theologian
and author, calls us first of all to the path of inner truth. We
must discover and claim the God-given worth as people who have
great potential for good. We also look at our shadow–side. This
does not mean putting ourselves down, but claiming God’s mercy
and goodness in ourselves and in those around us. It is often
easier to demonize others and blame them for things that are
going wrong. Today we see this happening at national and
international levels, in wars and conflicts around the world. By
looking at God’s beauty and bounty in ourselves and others, then
we can pass on a reverence for life which is at the heart of
truth-telling and justice-making.
Then we can look at the institutions under our care and ask,?Do
we live our mission, especially in our care and concern for the
impoverished of our day, in our commitment to racial and
economic justice? We can address our cultural values and
challenge those that are not life-giving.
Today there is a lack of truth and a lack of belief in objective
truth. The question is often asked: “Is culture shaping our
faith and religion?” Will we speak out against the death
penalty, poverty and other moral issues of our time?” Timothy
Radcliffe, OP, often reminds us that there is a great lack of
truth that has led us to the most violent century in history.
War, poverty, and other ills are the result of our inability to
seek the Truth together and work to build a common home for
the whole human family.
We can create circles of truth seeking and learn how to define
our lives and life-styles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We can then find ways to live the truth in a world desperately
in need of it. By choosing and living the truth, we can be
people of hope in a time of chaos. This means taking a chance on
God’s future. People are thirsting for a word of hope that tells
us that another world is possible, a world more in line with
God’s design for all people. It places human dignity and human
rights at the center of our mission. When adults change, our
children and youth will follow.
The final words of Bishop Gerardi who gave his life while
speaking the truth on behalf of the victims of Guatemala’s civil
war, offer us many challenges. He said: “Truth is an open door
for people to breathe and speak in freedom for the creation of
communities with hope. Peace is possible. It is a painful
truth, full of anguish and bloody wounds. It is also a
liberating and humanizing truth. It is a truth that challenges
each of us to recognize our individual and collective
responsibility and to commit ourselves to action so that those
abominable acts will never happen again.”
Two days after he delivered his message, the bishop was beaten
to death in his garage by a team of military assassins who
wanted to punish him for speaking the truth. His words live on
and give us courage and hope.
Jesus, our life, our truth and our hope, fill us with your
courage to be truth-seekers and boldly speak and live Your
truth. Let us begin today with courage, conviction and hope.