Love and Truth

09-10-2023Pastoral ReflectionsColleen Jurkiewicz Dorman

I think even the most devout, the most pious Catholic reading this meditation could summon to mind, if asked, one or even two examples of Catholic teaching for which they have desperately looked for a loophole.

Don’t worry, I won’t make you share with the group. But bring it to your mind now: the doctrine you once resented, or perhaps still do. The commandment you don’t fully understand, the one you bristle against. The rule you find the hardest to follow. The belief you hate explaining to your friends. If it disappeared from scripture or dropped out of the catechism, would your life really be easier? Would you be happier?

I am thinking of mine. For a long time, I searched high and low for a way around this particular teaching. I read books and Scripture and tradition, I prayed and reflected and tried to argue with myself. For a time, I gave up complying with it entirely. I threw it to the wind, with a shoulder shrug and a self-satisfied assurance to myself that God, being a loving father, does not want his child to be unhappy.

But reader: I was miserable. I was so, so miserable, and I stayed that way until I finally accepted that God is, indeed, a loving father, and desires nothing less than the unhappiness of his children. And so, to ward it off, he has given us the truth, and asked us to share it amongst ourselves like a cherished heirloom, a priceless inheritance.

To share truth, you must show love. To show love, you must share truth. One demands the other. Because this is what Christ does for us, and this is the mission of the Church in this world. Loosening and binding. Bearing witness. Giving testimony. Speaking truth, and in speaking truth, showing love. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” — Psalm 95