Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015 Friday: St. Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2015 Friday: St. Ignatius of Loyola

"What is truth?" retorted Pilate. (John 18:38)
"You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

“When the enemy convicts me of sin, I feel bad about myself; when God convicts me of sin I feel loved.”

THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE, IF . . . Wouldn’t it be something if you could take a pill and the truth would be revealed? If Truth Tablets could be manufactured and bottled, if they could be purchased at the Tabernacle Pharmacy, the bottle would probably have wrapped around it a warning label. It might read something like this:
Warning: Use only as directed for freedom from sin and wayward pursuits, as well as relief from unnecessary pain and depression. Common side effects may include upset stomach, headaches and insomnia. You may experience heart palpitations, weakness and fatigue. Leakage of bodily fluids, including sweaty palms and uncontrollable tearing, is known to occur when taken during times of personal crisis. Identity confusion may also occur. If taken in excess, or without proper nourishment, conflict and tension may arise with intimate others. Consult Psalm 139 if side effects persist for more than a week. Lastly, do not share these Truth Tablets with others who are not seeking the truth. If they think they already know all of the truth they wish to know, these pills could be hazardous to their health!

Truth by Way of the Gospel Now, without these Truth Tablets that make truth-telling and truth-listening easy, would you really want to seek the truth? Most of us have probably come to realize through our own experience that Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said: “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Indeed, the truth does set us free. Intellectually, we know this. Through our lived experience, we know this. Spiritually, we hunger for this. Emotionally, however, we dread it. We humans have a love-hate relationship with the truth. Why? Because we know the path toward spiritual enlightenment is an inherently painful one.

We know, for example, that the most important discoveries during our lifetime have been ones that disrupted our lives. These changed who we knew ourselves to be and led us to alter or leave significant relationships. The birth of new truth demands that we understand our life differently and behave in new ways. The emergence of truth requires that we make room for the “new” through a labor of letting go. What are some of the things we are asked to let go of? We are asked to let go of: • Traditions and the way things have always been; • The known, the comfortable and the familiar; • Our pride and our need to be right; • Relationships that once helped us to grow to who we are today, but can no longer assist in who we are becoming; • Ministries to which we were once called, but which no longer express how God is calling us to offer our gifts; • Our need for control, to figure things out ahead of time or be given guarantees so we don’t need to rely on our faith, one another, or God; • Our old ways of understanding our faith, who God is in our life and the reason we have been graced with the gift of life.

Recognize the value. It is important to appreciate the fact that pain is necessary for us to mature. This isn’t new information, but somehow it is easy to lose sight of this when we are in pain. We just wish it would go away. In order to motivate change, we need pain to push us. In order to attain wisdom and deeper knowledge of life, we need the experience of working through our pain. In order to experience compassion and empathy for others, we must know what pain feels like. In order to grieve and give way to new life, we must express the pain of loss. And in order to discern well and open our hearts, we must ache for God’s compassion. You don’t have to like pain, but before you react hastily and marshall your defenses, recall its value to make you whole and holy.

By Ted Dunn, PhD
Interior Freedom: Reflective Guide and Exercise