Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage

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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 relate to.


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 truth?”


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 loving God.


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 and hope.

Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

• Justice Bulletin Board •
• A New Year •
• Two Essays on Peace •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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