It is said that the first casualty of war is truth.
The war in the Ukraine provides ample evidence of this, with very different representations of what has happened and is happening by each side, and by many other interested parties besides!
There is another war raging – it is a ‘world’ war and it is over Truth itself.
We know that the word of God is always true. We know too that Jesus is that Word incarnated. Whatever He says and teaches is, quite simply, absolutely True. There can never be a truer Word. And we know too that Jesus won victory over death through His death and resurrection – He has in fact won that war.
And yet even though the war has been won, battles still rage across the entire battlefield of this temporal world (until the end of time).
These are first a foremost spiritual battles, and the architect of all attacks on Truth is of course the father of all lies – Satan. His aim is quite simply to do as much damage as he can to God’s creation, by seducing people and peoples of the world to no longer recognise or accept the Truth.
It might be a spiritual battle, but it is played out for real in our lives. It causes devastation!
The forces lined up against we creatures of God can be summarised as the ‘world’. The world views are those that suppress, twist, or misrepresent, and thus to blind us and deafen us to Truth. The world gains the upper hand in our lives when we accept any lie that is at odds with absolute truth.
The biggest of all lies is the notion that “my ‘truth’ is as good as your ‘truth’ …”. There are many lies being shouted loudly throughout our world.
- ‘My body, my choice’
- ‘If it feels good, it must be good’
- ‘There is nothing wrong with sex between consenting adults (outside of marriage)’
- ‘Safe sex’
- ‘Everyone’s doing it’
- ‘Porn doesn’t hurt anyone’
- ‘My sexual preferences are my right’
- ‘A foetus is just a clump of cells / not really human’
- ‘You can choose to die with dignity’
In the face of all these lies, and many others besides, can we ever determine and recognise that there is indeed such a thing as absolute, God-given truth?
Yes! It starts with acceptance of and honour for what natural law teaches us – or what ‘stands to reason’[i]. Our ability to identify and recognise what is ‘truly true’ gets easier when we consciously and actively seek to reason out and understand the consequences of acting in accordance with this versus that option. It is further strengthened when we seek what is authentically good (truly virtuous) in our thoughts, words and actions.
We can therefore all choose to seek, by way or reason, to make good moral choices, and therefore become of good ‘character’. We can even become truly honourable and virtuous, with God’s help!
The story of the Battle of Pavia is worth noting:
“Francis I (King of France) and his forces suffered a resounding defeat in the Battle of Pavia. He was a good and holy King, well taught by his mother Louise of Savoy to be chivalrous and truly moral in his actions. Imprisoned after the loss, he reflected on his failure in the battle, and did so in the light of his mother’s teaching. Inspired, he wrote his mother from prison; ‘All is lost, save honour’”[ii]
So even while all seems to be ‘going to hell in a hand-cart’, we can be sure that all is not lost – we have honour, and that honour is what God gifts us (along with our ability to reason) when we choose what is truly good, and when we follow His way.
How to do this? Link up with others of like mind, and look for opportunities to learn and grow in understanding of what is truly good, and what leads to virtue. Examples include learning about Theology of the Body, or joining a prayer or bible study group, or even starting one! Feel free to get in touch and discuss ideas.
[i] For more on ‘natural law’ read up on what St Thomas Aquinas taught. In summary he has stated, “the light of reason is placed by nature [and thus by God] in every man to guide him in his acts.” Therefore, human beings, alone among God’s creatures, use reason to lead their lives. This is natural law. Read more here: St Thomas Aquinas on natural law
[ii] Adapted from para. 356 of “Stories for Sermons” vol 1 by Fr Arthur Tonne – Didde Printing Company 1952 (Impramatur: Most Rev. Mark K Carroll, Bishop of Wichita).