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October 1966

"Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth'' (John 17:17)

Jesus, after having asked the Father at the last supper that his disciples be one, and after having meditated on the hatred the world will bear them, and nevertheless having prayed that they may not be taken out of the world, asks that they may be consecrated and sanctified ''in truth''.

If one bears in mind all that was announced and practised in the Old Testament one realises the novelty at once.

In the Old Testament men consecrated themselves and sanctified themselves in justice. The disciples of Jesus "in truth".

The justice of the old law was certainly not only legal and exterior: it was also rich in spiritual content, but it lent itself to a formalism which dominated the religious life of the Hebrew people, at the time of Jesus.

Jesus wants his disciples to be consecrated ''in truth'', to be made holy, ''in truth", and adds: "The Word, your Word, is truth".

If the Hebrew people was introduced to justice through many exterior practises, in the New Testament all will originate from within, from the compenetration of truth with the soul of each of us.

We are not well used to the cult and ascesis of truth.

Truth is the adhering of my word and mind to what is. Truth is expressed through words, but before that, it is the soul's contemplation. And it is not easy to make our being adhere to the truth. Because of the bad tendencies original sin has left in us, we are always inclined not to concentrate on what truly is, so that instead we are distracted by what surrounds us, by the confusion of things; or we are distracted, in contemplating the truth, by what is within us: we tend, that is, to adapt truth to our weaknesses, to our laziness, to our troubles.

How often, looking within ourselves, do we lack the courage to face the truth which makes itself heard with a subtle voice in our soul, and instead we try to forget it, to suffocate it, to move away from it!

It is a true asceticism to listen to the truth that speaks to us. We need great mastery of ourselves to stop and listen, even when the truth that speaks to us within torments and disturbs us, and demands a radical change in our life. It is then, if we are not careful, that we look at once for an alibi, a justification for not listening to the truth, we see the people around us and we look to their behaviour for a pretext to comfort ourselves and to justify our behaviour. But we feel that the truth, which is within us, is not satisfied and asks of us a sincere acknowledgement, at least within ourselves, of what it demands, of what we must give.

Jesus prayed the Father that truth may sanctify us, the truth which follows us wherever we are, which never leaves us, from which we can never escape; that truth, which, once accepted, reveals itself as the Word of the Father, as the word of God who, in his personal love for every man, enters our soul and enlightens and guides each of us in doing what we feel we ought to do.

And once we have adhered to the truth, we feel ourselves flooded by that love which only the Father knows how to give. ''If anyone loves me, he will observe my words and my Father will love him, and we will both come to him, and we will live in him'' (John 14:23).

(Author unknown)

 

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