SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN TODAY’S WORLD TAKES
By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
One of the principles and ideals of
Dominican Life is “Veritas.” It is rooted in and flows from a divine
truth, to be lived out in justice and love wherever we find
ourselves. Dominic, our Founder, was known as the Apostle of Truth
and demonstrated that the pursuit and living of truth must be
grounded in prayer, contemplation, study and community. In
Scripture, truth implies a strong reliance on God’s promises which
will shape our approach to God, as well as to all the people we
Truth-seeking and Truth-telling can
sometimes backfire, as this funny story demonstrates. A very
conscientious doctor told his patient that his days were numbered,
and he had about one week to live. “You need to get your affairs in
order” he told the man. “Is there anything more you would like to
see before you die?” the doctor asked. “Yes” answered the man –
“another doctor.” Are we willing to tell the truth and not let fear
or anxiety hold us back?
After a few viewings of the evening news,
one could easily conclude that there is a crisis of truth in our
culture, our nation and our world, and sometimes even in our church.
We live in a time of false promises, and many people are looking for
deeper meaning and hope. We are called to walk with them in their
search. Questions we hear at times are these: “Do we as a faith
community accommodate our religion and beliefs to fit our comfort
level and our culture? Are people more concerned about being
politically correct rather than being people who dare to speak the
How we search for the truth is very
important. There are two sides to every coin. One without the other
is not complete. It is often a challenge to pursue and live the
truth. Believing we have the whole truth may be an illusion that
could lead us to make false judgments about other people and events.
This approach will not lead us to the real truth.
Where do we begin in our search for truth?
We begin with ourselves individually and in the services and
institutions under our jurisdiction. We are first called to an inner
truth. We must discover and help others discover our own God-given
worth and dignity in order to be able to live with hope and meaning.
We all have potential for the positive and good and we also have a
shadow side. To change the negative, we must claim God’s mercy and
forgiveness for ourselves and others. Living this way, we develop a
reverence for all of life, an attitude that encourages people to be
involved in justice issues that transform our world. We need to see
God’s life and goodness in all around us and that will diminish the
need for conflicts, divisions and wars.
We also ask, “Do the institutions we
operate- schools, hospitals and others lead people on a path of
truth-seeking? Do they reflect the care and concern for the
impoverished of our day, for people of different cultures and races
and do they represent economic justice? Do we put our mission into
practice?” We also ask, “Do we teach children and youth the meaning
of truth in their lives and relationships”
By claiming and living the truth, we can
bring hope in times of great chaos and despair. Churches and faith
communities can convene groups to study and explore ways to live the
truth and call on the Spirit to guide them in an effective response.
We need to communicate with our legislators and challenge them to
face the truth of the issues and situations that surround us daily.
We are called to challenge every system and structure that devalues
life That will bring hope to our own lives and extend to the
farthest reaches of the earth.
I recall a visit to our Racine Dominican
Motherhouse, of a priest from Cairo by the name of Fr. Jean-Jacques
Perennes. He shared the story of his Dominican brother and friend,
Bishop Pierre Claverie, who was assassinated in Algeria in l996, by
a bomb planted that was intended to kill him and his Muslim friend
and co-worker. He decided to speak the truth and not go into hiding
in order to play it safe.
What price are we willing to pay to speak
and live the truth? We owe a deep debt of gratitude to those who
have laid down their lives in truth-telling and acting on their
beliefs. Their lives challenge us to take up our mission- the
mission of the Gospel, to be truth-seekers and truth-tellers. They
inspire us to continue to live our call day bay day with courage and
hope, knowing we can count on the promises of our faithful and
We each need to acknowledge our individual
and collective responsibility and to commit ourselves to action so
that all the poverty, violence, and wars will be greatly diminished
and replaced with justice, peace, hope and love for all people
May we continue our search day by day, with courage, conviction