BEFORE THE CROSS | Speaking truth also requires gauging how the message is received

Our duty to the Eighth Commandment — Thou shalt not lie — is fascinating. The first level is obvious, even if it isn't always easy: our speaking must be truthful. But deeper levels are illuminated by the readings this week.

Let's anchor our reflection in St. Paul's speech at the Areopagus, which we hear on Wednesday.

EDITORIAL | Healing only comes after the truth

Darlene Pendleton, who lives near the shooting, waved her fist over her head crying out “Hands up. Don’t shoot,” during a march protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

Amid the strife in Ferguson, the word "execution" has been prominent, as though Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson drove up to unarmed Michael Brown, who sat down in the street, raised his arms in surrender and was shot dead.

The version officials offer is that Brown struggled with Wilson and fought for Wilson's gun. As Brown walked away, police say, he turned and rushed Wilson, who shot and killed Brown to protect himself.

These are vastly different versions of the same event, an event in which the facts have been minimal.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Love is an experience of truth, a new way to see reality

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated a Mass for Consecrated Life at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in south St. Louis County. Religious communities from throughout the archdiocese were in attendance. Jubilarians were honored for the many years of service and dedication to the Church.

The Gospels are full of beautiful stories -- about the birth of Jesus, about His miracles and parables, and about His victory over sin and death. But are these beautiful stories true? Or are we simply deceiving ourselves when we accept them as true? Does our faith really provide a sure footing on which to understand the meaning and purpose of our individual lives and of human history? Or is it all simply a beautiful story, the projection of our deepest yearning -- what Karl Marx called "the opium of the people?"

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