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Suffering for truth.

As the axiom goes, when we love, we suffer. We have to make sure, however, that we suffer out of love. Otherwise, we end up suffering in loneliness and with a deep sense of emptiness and meaninglessness. Suffering would become a truly intolerable burden. Suffering would bring us hell even as we still remain here on earth.

But suffering out of selfless love brings us closer to our father God. It steals for us a piece of heaven even as we still remain in this world. For as long as we take on suffering for the sake of the "good", then that suffering has great value, united as it becomes with the suffering of Christ himself.

We can also take on suffering for the sake of truth. This is how we are made up: we remain restless until we get the truth. We are uncomfortable in a world of lies. We do not tolerate lies; and we have no patience for all the falsehoods that are being bandied about. It is for this reason that we study. We undertake research. We support investigative reporting. We encourage philosophical speculation that can help open the doors wider to the truth about the reality we face. We allow clear and sure doctrine to be passed on to us as part of the precious legacy to which we are entitled as the adopted children of our father God. All these require:

* Effort and considerable amount of time. For us study is a serious obligation. In addition, we are duty-bound to keep expanding our cultural horizon so it becomes a more congenial setting for the truths we can learn and for the doctrine we can absorb as our proper inheritance.

* Openness and humility. We need to keep an open mind as we let it travel freely on the pathways of inquiry and search for the truth. We also acknowledge our limitations and the relative smallness of our intellectual capacity before the radical boundlessness of the works of our father God.

* Respect for authority. We are only heirs to an intellectual and cultural legacy that has been passed on to us from past generations: we accept it, absorb it, and build on it. We submit to all those who have been given the grace of state - and the authority - to guide us particularly on doctrinal matters that touch directly on what our father God has taught and revealed to us.

When we are after the truth, we have to be prepared to suffer. The search for truth is laborious; it is demanding, often of great sacrifices. We need to put in the time and effort. Moreover, when we defer to authority, we have to be prepared to change our mind, recognizing that many others - with intellectual achievements far greater than ours - have grappled with the issues that are confronting us; we have to learn from them, even if this means our having to swim against the current. Finally, when it comes to doctrine and to truths that our father God may have revealed, we need authoritative guidance. We have to be docile to those with the grace and authority to pass on God's revelation to us. Docility often means having to eat humble pie.

And yet the truth is not a mere abstract ideal. It is a weighty reality, because it is personified in God himself. God is truth; and when we suffer for the truth, we also suffer for God. And how little such suffering is, and how great its value!


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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Feb 26, 2014
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