To be sure, truth is not only a matter of citing facts, data and statistics, no matter how scientifically or empirically verified they are. Truth is not simply what we can see and touch or what we can understand and prove with some arguments and pieces of evidence.
Truth goes much further and deeper than that. Remember that the reality that governs us includes the spiritual and the supernatural that obviously cannot be accessed just with our senses or with our mind, no matter how brilliant we are. We need grace for that. We need faith and all the other virtues that go together with faith.
Obviously, citing facts, data and statistics already has a semblance of truth. But they don’t have the last word. The truth that is proper to us as persons and children of God requires a lot more.
A piece of fact, data or statistic can only be the truth when it is inspired always by charity. It’s true that we can and should cite these things in pursuit of justice, but let’s remember that justice that is not inspired by charity is not real justice either. It’s more likely an exercise of revenge, a type of retributive justice, which definitely has a place in the sun too, but it is not the ultimate criterion.
Truth can only be where charity is because that is how Christ showed the real face of truth. It is the truth that is proper to us as persons and children of God. It is the truth that includes the spiritual and supernatural realities of our life.
It is the truth that does not contradict what is obvious, or scientifically and empirically verifiable but it certainly goes beyond it. This latter aspect of truth can sometimes give the appearance that it is going against facts, data and statistics. And that has to be expected. We just have to learn to live with that phenomenon.
Christ certainly spoke the truth by citing what he saw and felt around him. But he went further than that. He proclaimed the truth by telling us what is supposed to be proper to us, again as persons and as children of God.
And the truth that he preached and lived out to the hilt was when he assumed all the sins of men, offered forgiveness for all by going through his passion, death and resurrection.
That’s what real charity is and that is where the ultimate truth also is, insofar as our life here on earth is concerned. Truth is not simply observable and verifiable facts, data and statistics. These are elements of truth, to be sure, but without charity as shown by Christ, these would lack the proper spirit and would open themselves to human manipulations.
We need to see to it that our understanding of truth goes all the way to connecting it always with charity, the kind that Christ taught and lived. It’s the truth that blends facts, data and statistics with justice, mercy and charity.
It is also a truth that may involve suffering, as shown in the life of Christ. In fact, given our worldly condition, this suffering part of truth is inevitable, because in the first place the things of this world are in open rebellion against God’s will, and the requirement of charity goes all the way to offering one’s life for the sins of men as Christ did.
Truth will always reflect the wisdom of God which as St. James said in his Letter is “first of all, pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (3,17)
Thus, the truth that does not reflect God’s wisdom would have the opposite effects, something that would just create “envy and selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3,16)
We can only find truth where we are led by charity, and not by any other spirit or motive.*