From the Writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe (Part 1 of 2) by Annette Leib (President of MI Canada)
In the last article on “Truth” taken from the Writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Volume II, I posed the question at the end of the article “Can we change the truth?” Little did I know that Kolbe wrote a previous article with that question in mind – “Can Truth Change?” That is a fascinating question that piqued my interest.
Maximilian addresses the above question in his conversation with a Jewish woman and man who were on the same train with him as they traveled to Warsaw. Kolbe had many conversations with perfect strangers as he traveled to and fro to various places. Although he met many different people along the way with whom he struck up a conversation, the truth is – ‘conversing with strangers is what he did.’ The reality of this is true regardless of the passage of time or the variety of people he met. Truth often reflects the reality of a situation that does not depend on time, space, opinions, explanations or changing circumstances. St. Maximilian highlights this point in his conversation by using the woman’s example of the rotation and rising of the sun. It is true the sun rises each day regardless of the explanation that has changed in time. At first, it was thought that the sun revolved around the earth, but Copernicus’ theory disproved this ancient belief and claimed that the earth orbits around the sun. The truth is the sun rises and continues to rise whether we understood how it did or not. We don’t need scientific evidence to know this. This is a self-evident truth. Mathematical truths are prime examples of Truth that exists a priori to empirical evidence. Objective Truth does not change as it simply is and always will be.
Truth is also observable and measurable as St. Maximilian points out in his discussion on the train with the strangers he met. However, observable truth is only a small fraction of a much larger dimension of the reality of truth that cannot be measured by scientific means. In the CCCC #2500, it says, “Truth is beautiful in itself.” There is something in the human heart that longs for truth and beauty. Why is it that we get upset when told a blatant lie or feel disgusted at something horribly ugly and despicable? Is it not because the human heart finds harmony and peace in truth and admiration and wonder in beauty? Isn’t the exaltation of the human heart designed for this so it can recognize a reality far greater than itself and physical world?
The CCCC#2500 passage goes on to explain “But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exultation of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom, the order and beauty of the cosmos – which both the child and the scientist discover – “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator,” for the author of beauty created them.”