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16. Truth

1. Truth is the agreement or conformity of reality and the mind's judgment on reality. It is "the equation of thought and thing". Truth resides formally, or as such, in the mind which rightly judges a thing to be what it really is. Thus, formally, truth is truth of thought. There is also what is called truth of things; this is called ontological truth. It consists in the necessary conformity of things with the divine mind. For God knows all things perfectly, and upon this knowledge things depend for existence, and even for possibility of existence.

2. Formal or logical truth is in the mind's true judgment on reality. If the creatural mind judges wrongly, it is in the state of logical falsity or error. Truth is not, strictly speaking, in the ideas or concepts of the mind, but in the judgment by which the mind pronounces on the agreement or disagreement of its ideas and the reality which these ideas represent.

3. A thing is knowable, and can be conceived and pronounced upon by the mind, in so far as it is a thing at all, that is, in so far as it has being. And whatever has being is infallibly known for what it is by the divine mind; hence being and the true are really the same. Between them there exists only a logical distinction, not a real one.

4. In the human mind, being is prior to the true, for man adverts to the fact that a thing is a being before he notices that it stands in necessary conformity with the divine mind, and is therefore necessarily true.

5. As we have seen, God knows all things perfectly in knowing himself. Here we have absolute conformity of knower and object known; indeed, this conformity is identity. Hence we do not merely say that there is truth in the divine mind, or that God has truth. We say that God is Truth. God is Truth, eternal, absolute, sovereign, infinite, substantially existing as one with the undivided divine nature and substance.

6. All truths are in the divine mind. Many truths can be in creatural minds. Many truths can be in the same mind, and their number can increase as the mind makes more and more true judgments.

7. Truth is eternal in God alone. Man can know things that are eternally true, and these things are said to be true in themselves. But these truths are true in themselves only because God eternally knows them to be true.

8. And truth is changeless only in the changeless God. Creatures know many a changeless truth, but their knowing it is in no way the cause of its changelessness. And creatural knowing is not a changeless achievement. Creatural minds may disregard certainly known truths; human minds may forget truths once known. And there is a kind of change in a mind that learns new facts which make a known truth better known, or which reveal it in wider application.

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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