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What Is Truth? (Hint: Not Facebook.)

August 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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Life of Christ (Week 21 of 27)

This book continually makes me marvel and appreciate our faith and our Savior all the more.

In this week’s chapters, I found myself facing people who I related with, who I knew, who I have been.

Pilate was one of those who believed that truth was not objective but subjective, that each man determined for himself what was to be true. It is often the fault of practical men, such as Pilate, to regard the search for objective truth as useless theorizing. Skepticism is not an intellectual position; it is a moral position, in the sense that it is determined not so much by reason as by the way one acts and behaves. Pilate’s desire to save Jesus was due to a kind of liberalism which combined disbelief in Absolute Truth with a half-benevolent unwillingness to disturb such dreamers and their superstitions. Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?” of the only Person in the world Who could answer it in all its fullness.

Life of Christ, Chapter 45, paragraph 26

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Pilate wanted to rescue Christ, to save Him from His Passion? It was unjust, and Pilate couldn’t see any reason for it.

“Pilate, not understanding how anyone could die for truth, naturally could not understand how Truth Itself could die for those who erred,” Sheen writes in the next paragraph.

I’ve seen it in my own home, with my own kids. I’ve threatened that if that elusive kid named “Not Me” shows his (or her?) face, he (or she!) will be in biiiiig trouble.

Pilate is, at best, half-hearted in his attempt to show justice, and the silence of Jesus is utterly beyond him.

I can see the thought bubble, hear the question mark… “But whyyyyyyyyy?”

What made Jesus do something so foolish, so stupid?

Well. Therein lies the beauty of our faith, doesn’t it?

“Religion is not to be given to everyone, but only to those who are “of the truth,” Sheen writes a few pages later.

Growing up, and then growing beyond my upbringing, I felt that I had escaped the bonds of religion. Not until nearly a decade later did I see it for the gift it is.

Consider also this truth: “It is the way of the world for those who have small hates to bury them for the sake of a higher hate. Nazism and Communism united because of a common hatred of God; so did Pilate and Herod.”

For me, this seems to be glaringly true especially in an election year in the vast wasteland of Facebook. Suddenly we lose all sense of decency, manners, and compassion.

The scribes and Pharisees have nothing on the folks in my old Facebook feed!

On one hand, there are people who rage about this issue or that, and how this or that candidate has his or her priorities completely wrong. On the other hand, there are people on the exact opposite spectrum.

And then there are the people who make fun of everyone and everything.

I can’t help but wonder, in the midst of all this, when we stopped caring about capital-T Truth, when we allowed ourselves to be so distracted by the tone of culture that we began to act as though we hate the Divine, in the name of righteousness and right-ness.

And yet, we must not hate ourselves so much that we despair. Take the example of Judas:

Judas’ disgust with himself was vented on One Who made him uncomfortable by His Goodness. The hatred against Divinity is not the result always of unbelief, but very often the effect of antibelief. Conscience, Christ, and the gift of faith make evil men uneasy in their sin. They feel that if they could drive Christ from the earth, they would be free from “moral inhibitions.” They forget that it is their own nature and conscience which make them feel that way. Being unable to drive God from the heavens, they would drive His ambassadors from the earth.

The Life of Christ, chapter 46, paragraph 2

Consider, as Sheen does, that both Peter and Judas repent. The word used in Greek, though, indicates something much different: Peter actually had a change of heart, but Judas only felt badly for what happened.

As a mom, I see this all. the. time.

Something valuable and precious, broken. A child, sobbing.

Is she sorry because she broke the beautiful thing, that which was special and signified something to the owner? Or is she crying because she was caught red-handed and has to pay for the damages?

“The fruits of sin never compensate for the loss of grace,” Sheen reminds us. We cheat ourselves, not learning from Judas.

Just like Judas, I find myself sorry, disgusted with what my sin produces in me…yet, I still court the sin, hold it close, find myself sneaking back to it as though the forbidden fruit will do something other than poison me.

So, returning to our initial discussion of truth, where will you find Truth? How will you seek Him this week?

Reading Assignment:

Chapters 47-48

Discussion Questions:

1. What truth do you challenge and struggle with? This week, take it to prayer (Eucharistic Adoration, if you have it available to you) and ask God to guide you.

2. Is there a particular sin you struggle with? How might you change your approach to it and allow God to set you free from it?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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  • Mary Therese

    Yes! You struck most of the quotes that hit me as well. I think all we can do is keep getting back up again, and reaching (yet again) to see, and know, Truth. Each time we realize He is Truth, and is waiting for us, and we are not it, we get just a tiny bit closer (I hope!)

    Also in reference to today’s society, the following quote from Ch. 45 struck me: “Broadmindedness, when it means indifference to right and wrong, eventually end in a hatred of what is right.” Seems to me I see that more and more. But then, so I don’t get too caught up in pointing my finger, in Ch. 46 Sheen says, “It is the failure of those within that provides opportunities for enemies who are still without…” Yup…need to consider where I myself have failed Truth, and thereby given other opportunites to grab ground.

    These were very good chapters. I might mark them to read again next Lent.

  • Peter Aiello

    Truth was staring Pilate in the face. If he couldn’t see that, what more could Jesus say.

  • Peter Aiello

    Even Facebook can be used for good. It is just another writing tool. The nice thing about it is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to use it. Some people don’t like that.

  • Peter Aiello

    Judas hanged himself. Peter didn’t hang himself.

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