Minding the Truth – Part 1 of 3

The Redemptorist Father Peter Geiermann discusses ten ways to open our minds to the truth. One way is by removing ignorance. He writes: “Ignorance is a want of knowledge. It is always a misfortune and often a fault. To remove ignorance from our minds, we (1) must sincerely desire the truth, no matter how humiliating it may be, or how great a sacrifice it may demand of us; (2) we must seek it by systematic, persevering study; (3) we must pray to God for light and grace to dispel the darkness of our minds, to steady our mental vision, and to enable us to grasp the truth in all its details.”

A second way to open our minds to the truth is by removing prejudice. “Prejudice is a bias of the mind in favor of the similitude of a truth, or the rectitude of a judgment. It is caused by a misconception of truth, by passion, or by perverseness of the will. Prejudice is not only detrimental to fraternal charity and subversive of good government, but has also done much harm to souls by keeping them from embracing the true religion or from the practice of solid virtue. It is dispelled by removing its cause, that is, by dispelling error, by subjugating the passions, and by purifying the desires of the heart.”

A third way to open our minds to the truth is byremoving error. “Error is a misapprehension of a truth or of its application. It may result from ignorance, prejudice, a defective judgment, or from perverted self-love. . . . Possessing the appearance of truth, it easily lulls the mind into a false security, and, by flattering the passions, easily leads man to serious excess. An humble mistrust of the accuracy of our perception or judgment is the first step towards the removal of error. If, then, we have the good will to seek the truth in an impartial manner, and pray to God for light to see it and strength to bear it, we shall not only be freed from error but also rejoice in the possession of the truth.”

A fourth way to open our minds to the truth is by dismissing false principles. “A false principle is a rule of action founded on a misconception of the truth. Truth is objective, eternal, and immutable. To view it correctly we must regard it in the light of faith, that is, from the true, eternal, immutable standpoint of almighty God. Every other view will give us a misconception of the truth. Hence to view it from the false, temporal, mutable standpoint of the flesh, the world, or the devil, gives us an unreal perspective of the truth, which begets error and prejudice in the mind. . . . We must first obtain a correct perception of the truth in question before we can reasonably dismiss a false principle.”

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

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