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The Doctrine of Truth

The Doctrine of Truth


1. Happy is he whom truth by itself doth teach, not by figures and words that pass away, but as it is in itself. Our own opinion and our own sense do often deceive us, and they discern but little. What availeth it to cavil and dispute about dark and hidden things; for ignorance of them we shall not be reproved in the day of judgment? It is great folly to neglect things that are profitable and necessary and to dwell upon those which are curious and hurtful. We have eyes and see not [cf Psalm 115:5].

2. And what have we to do with genus and species? He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh, is delivered from many opinions. From one Word are all things, and all things utter that one; and this is the Beginning, which also speaketh unto us. No man without that Word understandeth or judgeth rightly. He to Whom all things are one, He Who reduceth all things to one, and seeth all things in one; enjoys a quiet mind and remains at peace in God.

O God, Who art the truth, make me one with Thee in everlasting love. It wearieth me to read and hear many things: In Thee is all that I would have and can desire. Let all doctors hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in Thy sight; speak Thou alone unto me.

JeanFrancoisMilletApportAlaMaisonLeVeauNeDansLesChamps18603. The more a man is at one within himself, and of single heart, so much the more and higher things doth he understand without labor; for he receiveth the light of wisdom from above. A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted, though it be employed in many works, for that it doeth all to the honor of God, and being at rest within, seeketh not itself in anything it doeth.

What hinders and troubles thee more than the mortified afflictions of thine own heart? A good and devout man arrangeth beforehand within himself those things which he ought to do. Neither do they draw him according to the desires of an inordinate inclination, but according to the direction of right reason. Who hath a greater combat than he that laboureth to overcome himself ? This ought to be our endeavor, to conquer ourselves, and daily wax stronger, and grow in holiness.

4. All perfection in this life hath some imperfection mixed with it; and, no knowledge of ours is without some darkness. A humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than a deep search after learning. Yet learning and knowledge are not to be blamed, for that is good, and ordained by God; but a good conscience and a virtuous life are always to be preferred. But because many endeavor to get knowledge rather than to live well, they are often deceived, and reap but little or no fruit.

JeanFrancoisMilletAWomanBakingBread0055. O, if men bestowed as much labor in the rooting out of vices, and the planting of virtues, as they do in moving questions, neither would there be so many evils, nor so great scandals, in the world. Truly, at the day of judgment we shall not be examined as to what we have read, but as to what we have done; not as to how well we have spoken, but as to how religiously we have lived.

Tell me, where are all those Doctors and Masters, with whom thou wast well acquainted, whilst they lived and flourished in learning? Now others occupy their places and perhaps do scarce ever think of those who went before them. In their lifetime, they seemed something, but now they are not spoken of.

6. O, how quickly doth the glory of the world pass away! O that their life had been answerable to their learning! Then had their study and reading been to good purpose.

How many perish by reason of vain learning, who take little care to serve God. And because they rather choose to be great than humble, they become vain in their imaginations.

He is truly great who is great in charity. He is truly great that is little in himself, and that maketh no account of any height of honor. He is truly wise, that accounteth all earthly things as dung, that he may gain Christ. And he is truly learned, that doeth the will of God, and forsaketh his own will.


Art: Bringing home the calf born in the fields (circa 1860) and A Woman Baking Bread (1854), both Jean-François Millet, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Patricia

    n today’s current global culture, death may come suddenly by an act or terrorism in the least unexpected places and times, providing a concrete lesson in just how quickly this world can pass away, how little knowledge, degrees and positions ultimately matter.
    People respond with “thoughts and prayers”. Then is is ok to pray in public. So in a society that is increasingly attempting to separate Christians from their souls, church from state, conscience from life, there is a glimmer of hope, still a deep truth written in the human soul that God is the author of life – the Truth that He is our creator and we were made for Him.
    People demonstrate that deep down they understand this during such an event by praying with someone who is dying, helping someone they don’t know, loving instead of hating, being a community that acts in a way to show the best of humanity, which actually is to the honor of God. During these times, all the debating and justification of sin recedes and we live in the simple truth of who God is, that we are His children and instinctively do what we are meant to do.
    Let’s not forget all these lessons afterwords but continue to use right reason to learn what is pleasing to Him, grow in virtue, forsake our own will and live according to His will. We are alive and have the chance to just simply live according to His Way, His Truth, and in His Life. Just think what it would be like if we all just did that!

    • LizEst

      Yes, it would be wonderful. Sadly, there are many hearts hardened by sin. They need prayer all the more!

    • marybernadette

      ‘It is interesting to note, that when Pope St. John Paul II was a Cardinal, he was in the United States addressing a ‘Conference of Bishops’ I believe ‘someone correct me if I’m wrong re: bishops’ however it was in ‘1976 or 1978.’ He said that He believed the Church was facing the ‘final confrontation’ between Christ and the anti-Christ, the Church and the anti- Church and that the Church had to take up this ‘challenge’ of facing it ‘bravely.’ before the Lord’s return.’


    This is a very timely article and I have forwarded it to my Pastor. I think that it is increasingly harder to find the truth with so much corruption in the media, constant talk by politicians, and celebrities. This article helps to refocus the believer. thank you.
    This site would have more comments, if it was not so hard to post. After 15 minutes of trying to access my account, resetting passwords, I almost gave up until I saw that I could post as a guest.

    • LizEst

      Thanks for your comments. The posting system is from DISQUS. So, it’s their system. It can be a little unnerving at first, but after a while, the problems get resolved and it is easy to use. God bless you…as He continues to lead you into all truth.

  • marybernadette

    ‘O this is so true, thank you Dan.’ The words are ‘True’ to the Lord’s Teaching
    about life. Seemingly contradictory teachings re: life. ‘If you want to be ‘Great’ become the ‘least of all.’ Of course, this is one of many examples of ‘True Wisdom.’

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