Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious


Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
"What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher),
"where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.

Yesterday I reflected on the mystery of Truth and the problem of facts. Facts are manufactured truths; they are presented as reliable but they are often deceptive. Sometimes they reveal the truth; but they may be used to destroy reputations, create massive conflicts and mislead “even the elect."
In today’s gospel when two disciples of Saint John the Baptist encounter the Truth they ask, “Where are you staying?”
He might have responded with a fact, “Just up the road a piece.” That would have told them nothing but “Get lost!” That is not how we learn the truth. Instead he answered, “Come and you will see.”
Knowing the truth will cost us something, something which is dear. It will engage our time, treasure, energy and relationships. Truth is not a curio picked up in souvenir shop.
To know the Truth we have to walk in his footsteps. We must expect to make sacrifices, to be taken for granted, misunderstood and sometimes abused.
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. We know the Truth one day at a time, as the Truth reveals himself to us. Pope Francis has described knowing the truth as "discernment," an ongoing process of dialogue with others which engages heart, mind and  emotions. 
Saint Augustine remarked, “It always takes courage to tell the truth.” I would open that remark further, “It takes courage to participate in a family, church, business or nation.”
A teacher once remarked about her work with children, “If it doesn’t feel risky it’s not good teaching.” She does not simply impart facts to her pupils. Rather, she engages the whole child and invites each to learn how to flourish in our confusing, often-dangerous society. If they will avoid the invitations of drug pushers and violence they will have to love the truth from an early age. They must have experienced the sweet taste of the truth so that the acrid odor of evil repels them.  
“Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous.”
Knowing the truth is a personal relationship with those who speak the truth and “act in righteousness.” As Christians and Catholics we provide that safe place for one another, especially as we gather by the altar in gratitude for God’s courage.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.