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Truth only in charity

That’s right! Truth can only be found where charity is. We should bury the myth that we can only be truthful when we manage to cite as foolproof evidence some cold facts and data alone, and use logic, etc.

The latter, without the animation of charity, can never be the truth. At best, they can only distort the truth. They may give some traces and elements of truth, but without charity, they cannot give the whole truth. And when truth is not whole, it is not truth at all.

A lie is precisely that—it contains some elements of truth but without charity. Instead, what it has are the motives of deception, of pursuing self-interest at the expense of the common good, etc.

That is why St. Paul said that we have to speak the truth in charity (cfr. Eph 4,15) and always highlighted the priority of charity over any other value, as expressed when he said:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift or prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13,1-3)

Here, St. Paul is not simply talking about citing some facts and data, but rather of much more important things. If there is no charity, all these things would amount to nothing and can even be very dangerous to us.

We have to understand that we can only be truthful when we manage to be charitable, with the charity that is a living participation or reflection of the charity shown to us by Christ who commanded us to live it.

It’s a charity that is willing to love everyone, including our enemies. It’s a charity that is willing to suffer for others and to bear their burdens, willing to consider others better than us. It’s a charity that is quick to understand and forgive others.

As St. Paul would put it, charity is “patient, is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Charity does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13,4-7)

In short, this description of charity expresses the proper criteria that should guide us in our pursuit for truth or in our desire to be truthful. It’s not simply in citing some facts and data, no matter how scientifically verified they may be.

And that’s because truth is not simply, as our philosophies would put it, a matter of mere agreement between our mind and the object of knowledge. That definition of truth is very restrictive and opens us to a world of subjectivism. Truth is when we are with God, the creator of everything and who knows everything.

And since God is love, “Deus caritas est”, a love shown to us by Christ, then we should realize that we can only be in the truth when we have the very love that Christ showed, taught and commanded us to have.*

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