Truth and Freedom

How often do you feel trapped by social expectations, and forced to pretend what isn’t real?
by Amber Jaloway | Source: Catholic.net

Many times in today’s world it seems that truth is an outdated value, and freedom just an American dream, unknown to the majority of this planet’s inhabitants. How often do you feel trapped by social expectations, and forced to pretend what isn’t real? Truth and freedom are two basic values that call up sentiments of pride and nobleness. However, for many freedom and truth seem unattainable.

Our late Pope John Paul II challenged the assumption that truth and freedom are unachievable. Even before becoming Pope he defended that truth and freedom are innate elements in the nature of each and every man. In his words, Psychology’s investigations serve to confirm that the most significant characteristics of the inner life (of man) are the sense of truth and the sense of freedom. He further explained that truth is directly connected to the sphere of cognition. Truth is the reality the mind perceives and also the condition of freedom. In other words, man sees a thing as good in the light of truth and thus uses his freedom to chose this good.

Truth is more than just a value for the honest. It is the inner light by which man is capable of seeing the world that surrounds him. Without truth one cannot see reality as it objectively is. For this very reason, it is one of the most significant characteristics of the inner life of man. It is significant because it is what differentiates man from all other creatures. No other animal possesses the capacity to discover truth, and, at the other end of the spectrum, not even the angles can discover truth. (Because of their possession of infused knowledge.)  However, man, by his rational nature and because of his perfectible nature, is constantly challenged to discover the good in light of objective truth. By his ability to discover the truth, man is capable of deciding the character of his own acts in relation to this truth. This capacity to decide how he will act before the truth is precisely what we understand by freedom.

Thus, freedom also is one of the most significant characteristics of the inner life of man. We have already shown in our study of truth that freedom is particular to the human person. Now let us look at why it is one of the most significant characteristics, within man’s inner life. Man has many characteristics in his inner life. He is moved by sentiments, passions, impressions, etc. However, freedom is one of the most significant of these many aspects of his inner life. Why? Freedom, and the necessary truth to exercise it, are intimately linked to man’s rational nature, as mentioned above. The superior faculties in man are his intellect and will. These faculties are what make man, man. The intellect perceives the truth and the will makes options and therefore freedom, possible. Thus truth and freedom are capacities directly united to the superior faculties of man. As such, they are the most significant characteristics of the inner life of man.

Freedom and truth are essential parts of man’s nature, realities dealt with on a daily basis. Values and rights? Yes. But more. They are characteristics of your inner life that must be exercised in order to fulfill ones own nature. It is as Boëthuis once said, “Man towers above the rest of creation so long as he recognizes his own nature, and when he forgets it, he sinks lower than the beasts.”

Ultimately, man is called to know the Jesus who is the Truth, so that Jesus can set him free from all sin. (John 14:6; John 8:32)



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