"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
I have always had a penchant for the truth. Never been any good at lying. Once, as a kid, I snitched a piece of candy from those big open bins in a grocery store; a year later, I confessed that crime to my mother. Okay, I admit the fact that my older sister knew about my misdeed and often used her knowledge to blackmail me (“If you don’t do x, I’ll tell mom about the candy”) was part of my motivation to come clean.
I don’t like it when people deceive me. Until late into my adulthood, I always assumed people were telling the truth. But…they aren't. Sometimes they even lie on purpose!
I’m not always good defending the truth, though. I really hate confrontation, but if the truth is at stake I’ll take the plunge and make it known.
And my voice often does shake when I am speaking the truth to those who prefer to deny it. That’s why I write!
I love what the Church teaches about conscience, too. It makes so much sense! We do have the Truth written on our hearts; we do know it. But we forget. We deceive our consciences, telling it lies until it becomes numb and can’t function any more.
If we let it go too far, we’re done for.
And when that happens, we’ll buy any happy notion society wants to sell us, just as long as it makes us happy. Then we say, “I am following my conscience.” Sometimes, that’s just not true. Our conscience sometimes is forced to follow us. It’s just a lot easier that way. Not right. But easier.
Speak the truth. Speak the truth in love. I don’t think that means that you have to be oh-so-tactful and gentle and never offend anyone. Remember, the truth comes first. If you are truly speaking the truth, then love IS behind it, even if you are not eloquent or persuasive in speaking it. Truth has a way of being beautiful even when it comes from the mouth of one who is verbally challenged! And you can’t speak a lie in love. It’s a contradiction in terms.