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Weekly Message for 02-14-2023: The Right Not to Know
Above all else, watch over your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23)
In 1978, former Soviet political prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gave a speech at Harvard University entitled, “A World Split Apart,” in which he spoke about individual and social fragmentation. In his assessment, a significant cause of individual fragmentation is the spurious idea that “everyone is entitled to know everything.” In reality, Solzhenitsyn remarked, “People also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk.”
What we take into our souls affects us. Hence St. Paul insists in Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think of these things” (my emphasis).
As we prepare for Lent, might it be an opportunity to assess what sort of information we ingest and its consequences in our souls? Are the fruits good (Galatians 5:23 offers a helpful list), or are they destructive (Galatians 5:19 may help gauge this)? Jesus came that we might have life, and life to the full (John 10:10); Lent is a reminder that he asks for our cooperation.
This Lent, what corrosive information can we eliminate? And what truth, goodness and beauty can we choose to take its place?
Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC