The Pope: we bear witness to truth with our life, not with chatter

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Pope Francis at the general audience

The Pope: we bear witness to truth with our life, not with chatter

By Iacopo Scaramuzzi/ lastampa.it

We sometimes justify ourselves by saying, "I only told the truth!" "Maybe, but you've revealed personal or confidential facts. How many chatters destroy communion through inconvenience or lack of sensitivity! At the general audience Pope Francis concentrated on the eighth commandment and explained that " “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” is to live as children of God", and since "a person speaks with all that he or she is and does", the truth "is not told so much in speeches, it is a way of existence, a way of living and is seen in every single act" a person makes.

"Living on non authentic communications is grave for it prevents relationships and, therefore, love: where there is a lie, there is no love, there can be no true love", Jorge Mario Bergoglio said. "And when we talk about communication between people we mean not only words, but also gestures, attitudes, even silences and absences. A person communicates through everything he or she is and does. All of us are in communication always, all of us live communicating and we are continuously poised between truth and lies. But - continued the Pope - what does it mean to say the truth? Does it mean to be sincere? Or to be exact? In reality, this is not enough, because one can be sincerely mistaken, or one can be precise in detail but not grasp the meaning of the whole. Sometimes we justify ourselves by saying: "But I said what I felt!". Yes, but you have absolutized your point of view. Or, "I just told the truth!". Maybe, but you've revealed personal or confidential facts. How many chatters have destroyed communion because of inappropriateness or lack of sensitivity!

"On the contrary," Francis insisted: "Chatter kills, and this was said by the apostle James in his letter: the chattering, the loose-lipped are people who kill others, because the tongue kills like a knife. Be careful: the loose-lipped person is a terrorist, because with their tongue they drop a bomb and then leave, and that bomb they have dropped destroys the reputations of others as they leave quietly: don't forget, gossiping is killing".

But then, the Pope said again, "what is the truth?". Francis returned to the Gospel account of the passion of Jesus, to emphasize that Jesus bears his witness "with his passion and his death". The evangelist Mark tells us that "the centurion, who was in front of him, having seen him die in that way, said: "Truly this man was the Son of God! Yes, because he was consistent in the way He died, Jesus manifests the Father, his merciful and faithful love".

"In all their acts, people affirm or deny" the truth that God is our Father, "from the small daily situations to the most challenging choices", Francis said, continuing a cycle of catechesis on the ten commandments, he focused on the eighth, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” : "It is the same logic, that which parents and grandparents teach us when they tell us not to tell lies. Let us ask ourselves: what truth do the deeds of us Christians, our words and our choices bear witness to? Everyone can ask themselves: am I a witness to truth or am I a sort of liar disguised as truthful? Christians are not exceptional men and women. They are, however, children of the heavenly Father, who is good and does not disappoint us, and places in our hearts the love for our brothers and sisters. This truth is not so much said in words, it is a way of existence, a way of living and is seen in every single act. "This man is a truthful man, this woman is a truthful woman", you can, even if one does not open one's mouth, if one acts as truthful, for they say the truth and act with the truth".

In short, “not to bear false witness" means living as children of God, who never denies Himself, and never tells lies. Living as children of God, letting emerge in every act the great truth, that God is Father and one can trust Him: I trust God, this is the great truth, and it is our trust in God who is father and loves me that my truth is born, being truthful and not a liar".

In paragraph 2505 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Pope recalled when addressing Polish-speaking pilgrims, "Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy". This, Francis concluded, "will help us to grow in fraternal love, in justice and in the courageous bearing witness of faith".

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:31
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