Please join us Monday 10/10/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET).
Opening Prayer: The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
The Triumph of Truth
Imagine you are a farmer and own 500 acres of the best land in the region. This land bears the highest yields and the best produce. But imagine now that every time you tell a lie or are dishonest, a piece of your land, small or large, depending on the size of the lie, goes to your neighbor. Your neighbor is an unbelievably bad farmer. His land never produces anything but thistles and thorns. This alone should induce you to become one of the most honest people in the county so that your land remains firmly and securely in your hands.
This is very much like the challenge we are engaged in every day. The devil, the father of lies, owns vast amounts of territory. And every time we lie, we increase the size of his territory because he owns all dishonesty and falsehood. Depending on our commitment to one or the other (the truth or dishonesty), we can reach the point where the “land” we farm no longer truly belongs to us. It is in the domain of and under the power of the evil one. And the fruit that comes from this land is definitely rotten. History bears this out unequivocally.
Why is this important? Because even little lies amount to territory surrendered to the evil one. And that can add up to a condition wherein one becomes unwilling or unable to see the truth, especially in the face of much larger lies.
If you ask yourself what the greatest lie ever perpetrated in human history is, many answers come up. But with each of them, one is always left with the same question. How could people have believed that? How could Adam and Eve have believed the lie of the serpent? After ten years of war, how could the people of Troy have believed the Trojan horse was a gift and not a trick? How could anyone have believed the Nazi propaganda that demonized a whole race of people with the intent of exterminating them? How can people believe that abortion is a right and that a baby is merely a clump of undefinable cells?
And the greatest lie ever perpetrated? Jesus crucified! How could anyone have believed that Jesus, who went about doing good and freeing the oppressed, who was pure goodness, love, and mercy, deserved to be executed? The very people who had experienced His mercy, forgiveness, healing, teaching, and miracles suddenly find themselves shouting: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The Jewish Virtual Library states that “Hitler and his cronies orchestrated what they called “the Big Lie.” This theory states that no matter how big the lie is (or, more precisely, because it’s so big), people will believe it if you repeat it enough. Everyone tells small lies, but few have the guts to tell colossal lies. Because a big lie is so unlikely, people will come to accept it.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great anti-communist dissident, noted that living by lies begins when we accept “without protest all the falsehoods and propaganda that the state compels its citizens to affirm—or at least not to oppose—to get along peaceably under totalitarianism. Everybody says that they have no choice but to conform and to accept powerlessness. But that is the lie that gives all the other lies their malign force. The ordinary man may not be able to overturn the kingdom of lies, but he can at least say that he is not going to be its loyal subject.”
As we look at the world today, grave dishonesty seems to have penetrated into everything from education to medicine to advertising to politics. The Big Lie is used more and more frequently to convince people that what they actually see is not the reality. Yet, says Solzhenitsyn, “a single person who stops lying can bring down a tyranny.”
In his book, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, Rod Dreher says: “It is up to us today to take up this challenge, to live not by lies and to speak the truth that defeats evil. How do we do this in a society built on lies? By accepting a life outside the mainstream, courageously defending the truth, and being willing to endure the consequences.” “The kind of Christians we will be in the time of testing depends on the kind of Christians we are today.”
Questions for silent reflection:
- Have you encountered any problems with the Truth in your experience with the medical world since being diagnosed with cancer? Do you notice any problems with honesty in the way people are diagnosed and treated?
- Has truth ever become an issue in the way you relate to family and friends around the subject of illness?
- Fear often becomes a reason for lying and for going into denial even with oneself. What do you think is the greatest antidote to the kind of fear that causes us or others to want to be untruthful?
- What makes the truth beautiful and desirable? Why would we want to strive for honesty (with charity) in all things?
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