“The truth is not grasped as a thing; the truth is encountered. It is not a possession; It is an encounter with a Person.” Pope Francis, May 15, 2013 General Audience
One word: Truth. We assume and lay claim to the truth everyday. We defend our sense of the truth as if it was absolute, irrefutable, and natural. We take for granted that our edifices of education, cultural facades, and treasury of historical traditions (oral and written) have bestowed upon us sensibilities that can be relied on to define the world we live in according to our particular understanding.
Fifteen minutes with a skilled philosopher or theologian can overwhelm a defined set of “truths,” whether elaborate or simple constructs of human design. Politicians rely on the art polemic all the time as do false prophets. It is uncomfortable to consider our framework is perhaps, not as solidly based on a foundation of truth and natural order as we proclaim.
Pope Francis is defining truth in the ultimate spiritual sense as an encounter with Jesus Christ – the “Person.” I cannot have that encounter literally in the flesh and am left with remnants of his words and deeds as passed down by oral and written tradition. I am also left with according to this tradition, the Holy Spirit, the “Paraclete,” or one who comes to our aide.
What a glorious remnant. A moment of grace, whether in consolation or desolation, when informed by proximity to the spirit, is beyond our sensibilities. It is at once craved for and avoided. I want it on my terms: controllable, dispensable, demonstrable, and maintainable. To have it for a moment and then not is inconsolable. To have it for a significant duration opens me up to the immense suffering and pain existent today and to the depravity of my own inconsequential existence and sinful ways.
Is it no wonder we run from spiritual truth and build our own edifices of truth in politics, in religion, and in law? If only they could all be spirit informed and aligned with a greater truth.