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"May your first refuge be ever at the feet of Jesus." ~Angela Merici
Do you ever wish that you could snap your fingers and create a protective bubble that would shield you from the chaos that surrounds us? There is no end to what one might exclude: the rising death toll and numbers of hospitalizations from the Covid pandemic; millions of Americans unemployed; children food deprived; inequities in housing, health care, education, and paychecks among our black and brown kin; global warming and the wreaking of havoc with global weather systems; wars causing vast migrations and refugee camps; children ripped from the arms of their mothers and placed in cages; and the very recent tragic rebellion on January 6,2021 with the attack on our Democracy. Fear of the violence being planned for the Inauguration of the validly elected President of the United States on Wednesday of this week is now nationwide. Sorry, no one, not even the NBA is capable of providing a bubble that could protect us.
What would it be like in our world if the truth had always been sought and valued? The virus would have been identified as a deadly threat earlier; false remedies would not have been tried; the CCD would have shared the actual situation to the public and a National Plan would have been followed to control it; resistance to following healthy practices would be minimal; the disruption of daily life would have been protective of the most vulnerable; the smooth transition of government would be occurring. Our current reality, our level of stress, would be very different.
The words of Martin Luther King, Jr., may be instructive: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
Yet a lie remains a lie. “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.” (Rick Warren) “Truth does not care if you believe in it, because truth is complete with or without your faith in it. Lies need your belief. Egos create lies and they cannot live without the energy that you willingly give them. Because lies are not truth they need to feed off something to sustain themselves”. (Suzanne Wagner)
Others have shared the significance of truth as part of human experience: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Martin Luther King, Jr) “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Sometimes hearing the truth hurts, but it is only in hearing and living in the truth that healing begins. “Honesty is often very hard. The truth is often painful. But the freedom it can bring is worth the trying.” Fred Rogers
“Telling the truth . . . is not solely a matter of moral character; it is also a matter of correct appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell cautions. The Way ahead of us will never be easy, yet we must choose Life: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
The Way forward toward the Life that we desire is not a secret. “Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) And I would recommend an image, a metaphor for Truth. I am suggesting that we immerse ourselves -- all aspects of our lives –our very breathing-- in the graced air of Truth. That is one impermeable bubble that could make all the difference.
“When there is truth in your being, God is always with you. When God is with you, there is no question of failure. Live your truth and not a lie that others want you to live.” (Apoorve Dubey)
“Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the Truth itself.” (St. Augustine)
When we are in difficulty, St. Angela’s advice is always reliable: “Let your first refuge be ever at the feet of Jesus;” because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) Let us follow her advice: “Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)