“The law of freedom teaches the whole truth. Many read about it in a theoretical way, but few really understand it, and these only in the degree to which they practice the commandments.”
St Mark the Ascetic
On the Spiritual Law
Two Hundred Texts
Philokalia Volume 1
Truth is an interesting thing for us to ponder. There is the famous quote in the movie “A Few Good Men” where Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson) is being cross examined on the witness stand by Lt. Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) when he vehemently recites the famous line “you can’t handle the truth”! This line is almost immortal and speaks to the deep confusion around “truth” and truth. Truth for many of us lies at the intersection of reality and perception. Sometimes we really feel we cannot handle the truth and sometimes we just do not want the truth because it might be too painful, challenging, or overwhelming. In my last parish, I visited with a gentleman who recently became divorced due to poor behavior on his part. Most of our early time was spent discussing the actions that led up to the divorce and my listening to him rationalize the situation through his view of the events. Ultimately, he reached a point where he was willing to look at the facts and see the reality of the situation. It was tough, overwhelming and painful because at the center of this reality he saw truth. St. Mark the Ascetic calls to mind the freedom that comes when we seek truth. For the church fathers God was ultimate truth and Jesus, through the incarnation, shows us how to seek and find truth in all we do. This is not an easy process for us and one that is fraught with challenges, but the hope and promise is found at the end when we attain a freedom that we have never known before. This week consider a situation or decision that has caused you anger, sadness, or frustration. Take a step back and reexamine the situation again and try to identify your perception of what happened from the reality of what happened. What do you see? Where do you find truth?