The world today cries out to discover truth. Discover. Few of us want to be told what to believe; instead, we want a journey through which we can find out, for ourselves, what is true. We often think that “faith” alone is where we find truth, but in fact, we can seek the good, the true, and the beautiful in and through everything. That includes art, science, mathematics, nature, architecture, music, dance, travel, the human person, and much more.
Have you ever felt that God was speaking to you, or showing you something, through a song you heard on the radio? Of course there are songs like this one I love–“Build My Life“–which is clearly an expression of love to God and for others, with lyrics like “Show me, who you are and fill me, with your heart and lead me, in your love to those around me…” But what about “nonreligious” songs like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” with lyrics like “Turn my sorrow into treasured gold.” Have you ever listened to this song and thought that God can truly transform your sorrows into joy?
I invite you to listen for God in and through all things—when listening to Adele or watching the new Super Mario Brothers movie. Just keep your heart and mind open to goodness, truth, and beauty—and you’re sure to find it everywhere.
Explorers and seekers
As explorers and seekers of truth, we are, fortunately, in good company. In the Gospel of Matthew, for example, we read about the Maji, or Wise Men, “from the East” (Matthew 2:1), who saw a “star at its rising,” and followed the star to baby Jesus. These Maji learned where and how to find Jesus by studying the stars—the universe. And why? How could the study of the stars possibly have led them to the child Jesus?
Well, in the Book of Psalms, we read that truth reaches “to the skies” (Psalm 108:5). Truth, in other words, is expressed in creation. “Nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. It is also a continuing revelation of the divine” (Laudato Si, 85, 2015). As such, we can be certain that the study of the sky, in its vastness and beauty, will lead us to discover Truth, just like the Wise Men were led to Jesus by following the star in the night sky.
Come, touch, and see
Do you feel that you, like the Maji, would like to find truth in the stars? Do you notice that you have the capacity to question, discern, and seek; and that you’d like to put those skills to use in your search for truth? If so, then you’re not alone. After Jesus died and rose from the dead (Luke 24:12), his closest friends, as you can imagine, were “startled and terrified” (Luke 24:37)—they were, basically, in disbelief that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. And how does Jesus respond to them? Jesus offers them an opportunity to “touch me and see” (Luke 24:39). Rather than insisting that they blindly believe, Jesus offers them physical, tangible evidence that He has risen.
Don’t we want the same—to touch, see, and then, to believe? I know I do; and the Lord wants to offer us evidence today, as He did over 2000 years ago. He invites us to ask questions, even in disbelief, and then to come, see, touch, and taste of this Goodness.
The question arises for us, though, what can we touch? What can we see? The divine Word—Logos—is living amongst us today. We can “see” and “touch” Him by exploring creation—which “shows forth the inexhaustible riches of God” (Laudato Si, 2015). Thus, we can seek and discover Truth through the study of creation. Describing mystic Ali al-Kwawas’ writings, Pope Francis explains, “there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face” (Laudato Si, 2015).
I invite you to contemplate the mysteries of God in leaves and dewdrops, as well as in mathematical theories, artwork, and music. In this blog, we’ll do all of that; we’ll also explore faith through the study of the human brain, which is, as neuroscientist David Eagleman writes, “inimitable, mysterious, and precious beyond measure.”
We’ll also discover truth by looking at what contributes to human flourishing, such as gratitude, social connection, compassion, and charitable giving. Do these scientific findings line up with teachings from the Catholic Church? Let’s find out. Accordingly, Truth, we presume, is not only evident in ancient Catholic traditions and woven throughout Church history, but also exists in and through creation, including the physiology of the human person—who is, in mine and Eagleman’s opinion, “more remarkable than any orb in the sky” (2016).
Finally, if you are on a journey and long to discover, then I invite you to come. Question, seek, journey, discover, and explore with me. Let’s uncover the unfathomable mysteries of the human person in our search for the good, the true, and the beautiful.
Eagleman, D., & Downer, J. (2016). Brain and Behavior: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Oxford University Press.
Francis, P. (2015). LAUDATO SI’: ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME. Encyclical. https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
Japan, C. bishops’ conference of. (2000). Reverence for Life. A Message for the Twenty-First Century.