Aug 142013

The Church—which the Spirit guides in the way of all Truth and unifies in communion and in works of ministry—is both equipped and directed with hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorned with the fruits of the Spirit.

Lumen Gentium Article 4 Paragraph 1 Topic E


Unity of Truth

With all of us conforming to the Spirit of Truth, the Church is richer and better able to accomplish its mission and the calling God gave each of us. We are Catholic Christians because of our unity to the Truth taught by Christ through the Church He established.

Using contemporary an example of how unstoppable the Church can be when unified by Truth, look at what the leadership of Saint Pope John Paul II was able to accomplish. He helped bring down the communist empire, he opened meaningful dialogues between Christians and Jews, he commissioned the Catechism of the Catholic to help us to better understand and live the teachings of Vatican II, and so much more.

He would have never been able to accomplish any of this without being led by the Spirit of Truth and by using his leadership gifts. These enabled him to share the Truth with others and to bring groups together to accomplish amazing feats.

The Story of Two Pope

An interesting study in the unity of Truth is looking at Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Both were led by the Spirit and both have left the Church much better by using their gifts but look at their differences in style.

JPII would have loved a big party when Benny would prefer coffee with a couple of friends. The Pole love to travel while the German preferred people came to him. The actor enjoyed the pomp of Church while the theologian enjoyed the quiet reflection.

Yes, those are broad strokes to paint the personalities of these two great men but it done so to show that their preferences never got in the way of their unity of Truth. While the two men could not have been more different, they were close friends. That’s what unit of Truth can bring to the Church.

I like the sign of unity during the Mass of holding hands during the Our Father; some of my close friends believe it takes away from the focus of the Mass. I would guess Pope John Paul II would have been more like me and Pope Benedict more like my friend in this situation.

Notice the words “like” and “believe”. Those indicate statements of a preference and not a truth. Everyone has preferences. Being in the communion with each other means accepting each other’s preferences but not letting them get in the way of our unity in Truth.

So I don’t hold my friend’s hand during the Our Father. I stand alongside him during Mass: that is our ultimate sign of unity.

Practical Tips for Being a Lumen Gentium

Hopefully you are thinking about and questioning items that you hold as a truths which are actually preferences. Our preferences make us unique and add flavor to life.  Where we have problems is when we cross the line and insist that our preferences become everyone else’s truth. If this is true for you, repent and resolve to change.