There is no doubt that since the coronavirus appeared there’s been a heightened swirl of confusion and contradiction about so many issues in the world and even between clergy in the Church. With the way things have been going, I think it’s safe to assume it might just continue in this pattern.
A thought had passed through my mind in which I wondered: Maybe, in Divine Wisdom, God is allowing great confusion & contradiction in order to sift our hearts & see who desires truth. Now, I do not claim to know how God operates and His reasons why…
For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9]
Yet still, perhaps it might be helpful to consider spiritual “traps” that might create obstacles to knowing the truth and spiritual “tips” and virtues which might help us see truth more clearly.
SPIRITUAL OBSTACLES TO KNOWING TRUTH:
- Human respect and care for what others think of oneself; wanting to be applauded and thought well of by the world. The only opinion that matters is God’s.
- Fear of any kind, except offending God.
- Pride – Not wanting to admit one was wrong or doesn’t know everything; fear of being embarrassed or made the fool of…all incited by our pride.
- A lack of humility.
- A lack of a desire to want to know the truth about a matter, especially if it contradicts one’s previously held thoughts.
- Attachment to one’s sins. Sin darkens the intellect, dulls the understanding and weakens the will.
- Self-love (idolizing oneself and one’s thoughts above God; this is different from a healthy self-respect because you are created by God)
- Constant pursuit of pleasurable things. This inflates one’s self-love and desire to be appeased and gratified.
- Anger/bitterness in the heart.
- Attachment to the things of this world, which we’re sometimes willing to compromise truth for.
SPIRITUAL TIPS & VIRTUES TO FINDING THE TRUTH:
- Humility – a humble willingness to be proven wrong if what one encounters is the truth.
- Docility and a willingness to be taught.
- Detachment from human respect.
- Practice of detachment from the things of this world.
- A daily practice of self-denial and mortification in little things, to mortify our self-love.
- Daily prayer with Scripture. Prayer enlightens the mind and strengthens the will. It bestows God’s wisdom and greater understanding.
- A humble questioning & scrutinizing of one’s opinions and perceptions before God, knowing how easily we can be deceived or idolize our opinions.
- Learning and knowing the Catholic faith (Catechism, those teachings of the Church which have been handed down through millenia)
- Being in a state of grace & desire God’s will above all else.
There’s quite a list here, I know. Don’t feel overwhelmed but try to work on those things you prove weakest at. I think humility is the most important one. If we aim to do these spiritual practices daily, we can be more safeguarded against believing lies or willfully listening to them. No one is exempt from following lies or deception because no one is exempt from sinning and the tendency towards self-love. (Notice too, these lists don’t cover things related to the work we ought to do in the temporal realm of things, just spiritual).
God is all truth. If we humbly seek to know the truth about matters, in this spiritual context, we will not be deceived. In the end, what leads us to be deceived is not God, but rather typically our self-love manifested in whichever way.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth”
~ Ephesians 6:14
Image courtesy of Pixabay.