Speak the Truth


Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.    Eph. 4:25    (NAB)

So far in our study, we have confirmed that God is truth, Jesus (being God) is truth, His Church is truth and His Word is truth. In fact, we even looked at the rules for interpreting His word to find His truth.

Now, let’s look at speaking the truth.

In God’s covenant with Israel, He gave them certain rules to live by. The most famous of these rules are The Ten Commandments. The Eighth Commandment states: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16) When we, as children of God, speak or act contrary to the truth, we lie. “Since God is “true” the members of His people are called to live in truth,”(CCC 2465).

” Truth as uprightness in human action or speech is called truthfulness, sincerity or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists of showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy,” (CCC 2468).

“Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another. The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret; it entails honesty and discretion. In justice,” as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth”, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sth II-II, 109,3, corp.art.” (CCC 2469).

As a follower of Christ, I am not only obligated, but commanded to be truthful with my fellow man. In my words and my actions. That is my witness. My witness reveals who my “Lord” is, who my “God” is, and it reveals who “I” am. A true believer or a hypocrite.

As it is written; If we say, ”We have fellowship with Him,” while we continue to walk in darkness we lie and do not act in truth.”   I Jn 1:6  (NAB)

A Sign of Unity


Could this be the first steps to unity amongst Christians? Could this be what Jesus meant when He prayed, “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they my be one just as we are.”  John 17:11

 Check out the link below and let us pray that it is.

 http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0604186.htm

Interpreting the Truth Part II: The Senses of Scripture


These things happened to them as an example and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of all ages has come.   I Cor. 10:11   (NAB)

What are the senses of Scripture?  “According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual with the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical.” (CCC 115)

“The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation,”( CCC 116). (see previous post, Interpreting the Truth Part I, for the “rules of sound interpretation”)

What is exegesis? It’s the critical explanation or analysis of a text. (American Heritage Dictionary)

“The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of scripture, but, also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism, (1 Cor.10:2).

2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says they were written for our instruction, (1Cor. 10:11, Heb. 3:1-4:11).

3.The anagogical sense. (Greek: anagoge,”leading”) We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us to our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem, (Rev.21:1-22:5).” (CCC 117)

 To summarize;” The Letter (literal) speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith; The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny,” Augustine of Dacia, (CCC 188)

One of the biggest misconceptions I had about the Catholic Church, as a Protestant, was  their interpretation of Scripture. I thought you had to see it their way or hit the highway, and we see clearly, that is not the case. There is still room for my personal application along side the Church’s interpretation and they should never contradict each other. If they do, then someone is wrong. But for true students of the Word, you’ll find you line up with Church teaching.

God uses rules and structure to protect His children. He wants us to be safe and secure in His love and fellowship. The way He has chosen to do this, is through the Church He established.

A Thanksgiving Prayer


God most provident, we join all creation in raising to you a hymn of thanksgiving through Jesus Christ your son.

For generation upon generation peoples of this land have sung of your bounty; we too offer you praise for the rich harvest we have received at your hands.

Bless us and this food which we share with grateful hearts.

Continue to make our land fruitful and let our love for you be seen in our pursuit of peace and justice and in our generous response to those in need.

Praise and glory to you, Lord God, now and for ever. Amen.

This short rite of blessing comes from the Book of Blessings, chapter 58, and as such is one of the sacramentals, which is to say that it is liturgical prayer, though it may be led by lay people. It is a wonderful way to begin a family’s thanksgiving meal.

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to everyone!

Interpreting the Truth Part I


The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name- He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.   Jn.14:26  (NAB) 

After the last post, “Our Guide to All Truth”, we came to understand that the Holy Spirit reveals God’s Word as truth, Jesus as truth and the Church as truth. But the question still remains; How do we interpret the Scriptures?!

“To interpret the Scriptures correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words” (CCC 109). ” To truly discover the sacred authors intentions the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current”(CCC 110).” But since Sacred Scripture is inspired there is another, and no less important principal of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. It must be read and interpreted in light of the same Spirit by whom it was written. The second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it”(CCC 111).

The first is;” Be especially attentive to the content and unity of the whole scripture. Different as the books that comprise it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since His Passover”(CCC112).

Second; “Read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church. According to a saying of the Fathers, sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture(” according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”, Origen, Hom. in Lev. 5,5: PG12, 454D”), (CCC113).

Thirdly; Be attentive to the analogy of faith(Rom.12:6). By “analogy of faith” we mean the coherence of the truths of the faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation” (CCC 114).

What does all this mean? Well ,what it means basically, is that there are rules to interpretation. It goes beyond just the Scripture itself, to the times and places and cultures long ago and far removed from us. We must step “back in time” as it were, to fully understand what was trying to be conveyed, and ask ourselves in the “here and now” what is God trying to show/teach me?

Next time, we will look at the senses of Scripture.

Our Guide to All Truth


But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.   John 16:13  (NAB)

In our attempt to understand “What is Truth” we’ve seen that; scripture says that God’s word and His laws and commandments are truth (Jn. 17:17, Ps. 119:142, 151), that Jesus Himself is the truth (Jn. 14:6), and the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth (I Tim. 3:15) Now we will learn of the Spirit of truth.

The Holy Spirit is given to all true believers in Christ. In the brief description above, we see, one of the duties of the Holy Spirit, is to ” lead and guide us to all truth.” With so many denominations, preachers, faith- healers and teachers proclaiming ” truth” that differs from one to another, what’s one to believe?

When one only has partial truth, then truth becomes distorted. Though based on truth, it may retain some truth, but the fullness is laking. Truth has a four-fold purpose:

  1.  structure
  2.  direction
  3.  purpose
  4. information

If a truth lacks any of these four dimensions then it is most likely not to be true to the fullest extent.

Since most of us agree that Jesus and the Bible are truth, let’s look at the controversial subject of the Church as truth. What I’ve come to understand is this: The Catholic Church has been around a lot longer than the rest have, has taught the same thing from it’s beginning. Other denominations cling to the Catholic Church’s definition of the Holy Trinity and Christ being fully God and fully man (things not found in the Scripture) and denies the Eucharist and Holy Matrimony as Sacraments (things that are in the scripture!)

 What this all means is simple, and yet, complex. What we have is; Jesus as truth, revealed by the Holy Spirit. The Church as truth, lead by the Holy Spirit, and the Scripture as truth, interpreted by the Holy Spirit. These dynamics working together form  the triangle of truth. Each point is connected by the work of the Holy Spirit.

If there is only one God, then why so many different interpretations of scripture? Is it because what was established from the beginning, has been altered, ignored or worse yet, rejected?

 Take a look and study the history of the early Church, you will see that what the Church taught in years past, is what the Catholic Church still teaches today.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.  Heb.13:8   (NAB)  

Amen.

Worshiping in Spirit and Truth


But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.   John 4:23-24   (NAB)

I had someone say to me recently,”I can meet God anywhere.” And that is true…to an extent. I’ve also heard people say,”I can worship God anywhere.” And that is true…to an extent. The above verse is often used in an attempt to justify personal worship over corporate worship.

Jesus is not referencing some sort of interior worship, within our own spirit. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit, given by God, that reveals what His truth is; and enables us to worship the Father, in the most appropriate way.

Jesus is addressing the issue of centrality; to worship “here” or “there”, Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim. He is revealing, to the woman at the well, that those who worship the Father in this “hour” that is “now here” are on the world-wide scale, not just Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim.

Over spiritualizing everything in scripture is not yielding to the Spirit of truth. When God created us, He wasn’t surprised that we were physical beings. In fact, He made the earth and all that dwells in it, not just for His glory but for our pleasure. These things in the physical world, should serve as reminders of God’s great love and provision for us.

Isn’t this one of the reasons God created the Church, as a visible sign of a spiritual reality? The Church is not just this cosmic spiritual body, it’s also a universal physical body. Again I will make the statement, it’s not an either/or, but, a both/and.

Yes we can see God in nature. We can feel His presence in our car, and we can worship Him in those places. But the ultimate act of worship is renewing the covenant with God, through the Eucharist of Christ, and letting Him change us, conforming us to the image of His Son, by becoming a living sacrifice.

Amen.