Summary: Truth and faith are only possible when we share in a memory greater than the one we accumulate in our lifetime.
Thursday of 3rd Week in Lent 2014
Truth Has Perished
“Truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.” Thus the words of Jeremiah about the people of Israel. He could be saying it about modern life in the United States of America. Oh, there’s plenty of information. Never before have human beings been so inundated with facts, TV shows, Internet websites, radio commercials and news. But just consider one news story: from the NYT last Saturday: “A federal judge issued the latest in a string of rulings that say it is unconstitutional to deny marriage to gay couples.” Information, but no truth. Consider the word “gay.” When we were growing up, it meant “joyful, happy.” Today it means “shackled in an unnatural lifestyle to conduct that is sinful, physically harmful and scandalous.” That interpretation is the Truth, but it’s hidden behind a misused word. The whole sentence conveys accurate information, but flies from the Truth. The Truth, which the Times and the rest of the MSM tries desperately to conceal, is that the mavens of culture are successfully perverting God’s gift of marriage by using it to justify abusive behavior.
The cultural mavens of Jesus’s time were called Pharisees. In their minds, only blind obedience to their interpretation of Torah was appropriate. Jesus was a pariah to them because he taught that compassion and healing from sin and sickness were more important than nit-picky observance. He healed on the Sabbath; his disciples, when hungry, picked grain on the Sabbath. He claimed to forgive sin, a power reserved to God. He was the Truth, but they called Him an agent of Baalzebul, the lord of the flies, Satan. So being an enemy of Truth is not something invented by the Times. It’s just that modern culture thinks they can hide the Truth by flooding human eyes and ears and minds with useless and destructive information.
The popes, in reflecting on faith and truth, tell us more: “Language itself, the words by which we make sense of our lives and the world around us, comes to us from others, preserved in the living memory of others. Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory. The same thing holds true for faith, which brings human understanding to its fullness. Faith’s past, that act of Jesus’ love which brought new life to the world, comes down to us through the memory of others — witnesses — and is kept alive in that one remembering subject which is the Church. The Church is a Mother who teaches us to speak the language of faith. Saint John brings this out in his Gospel by closely uniting faith and memory and associating both with the working of the Holy Spirit, who, as Jesus says, “will remind you of all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26). The love which is the Holy Spirit and which dwells in the Church unites every age and makes us contemporaries of Jesus, thus guiding us along our pilgrimage of faith.