Minding the Truth – Part 3 of 3

Having discussed five ways to open our minds to the truth, Father Geiermann proposes five more:

A sixth way to open our minds to the truth is by curing fickleness. He writes: “Fickleness is a tendency of the mind to flit from one subject to another without any definite aim or intention. It results from a lightness of mind and a freedom from care or responsibility, which is the outgrowth of a satisfied selfish nature. If not remedied at an early stage by self-discipline and application it will crystallize into a shallow, selfish character.”

A seventh way to open our minds to the truth is by remedying curiosity. “Curiosity is an inordinate tendency of the mind for novel and sensational information. It is the opposite of fickleness in application, but like it prompted rather by a perverse will than by a longing of the mind for truth. Curiosity can easily be converted into a spirit of study by turning the mind from sensational subjects and concentrating all its energy on necessary, useful, and elevating topics.”

An eighth way to open our minds to the truth is by moderating rashness. “Rashness of mind is inordinate haste in the study of a truth, in pronouncing a judgment, or in the performance of an action. . . . A rash judgment in addition usually offends against charity if not against justice, while a rash action is performed apparently with total oblivion or indifference to its injurious effects. By moderating our impetuosity sufficiently to study a subject thoroughly, both in its nature and application, we not only obtain a clear perception of it, but guard as well against defects in judgment and precipitation in action.”

A ninth way to open our minds to the truth is by conquering obstinacy. “Obstinacy is an undue attachment to one’s judgment or to one’s mode of action. It is caused by narrow-mindedness and mental pride, and gives rise to rashness, harshness, and insubordination. As this defect is evident to our associates before we admit even its possibility, we usually will not try to conquer it before it has been brought home to us by bitter humiliation.”

Finally, a tenth way to open our minds to the truth is by curing spiritual blindness. “Spiritual blindness is darkness in the mind caused by infidelity to grace. As light is necessary for perception in the physical order, so grace is indispensable in the spiritual order. . . . As spiritual blindness is caused by a perverse will we must acquire the fear of the Lord, by meditating seriously on the eternal truths, to cure it. In proportion as the fear of the Lord softens our hearts and converts our wills, will our minds also reapproach God.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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