Daily Meditations

The Second Thursday of Great Lent: The Presumptuous Bat & More True than the Truth?

The Presumptuous Bat

The light allows the eye to distinguish, for example, gold from silver, copper from iron and tin. Moreover, it allows us to note the difference between colours and shapes, between the plants and between the animals. But only for those who have sound eyesight. The blind gain no advantage from the rays of the sun: they do not even see the brightness of the light!

There are people who do not want to open their eyes to the light of truth but are quite happy to live in darkness. They are like the blind. They are like the birds that fly by night and take their name from it, night-jars, or like bats.

It would be stupid to be angry with these animals. Nature has assigned them that destiny. But human beings who purposely choose the murky gloom, what reason can they give to justify themselves?

What prevents them removing the mist from their eyes is arrogance. They fancy they know the truth better than others because they have studied a lot. But they are like fish in the sea: they live in salt water, but, nevertheless, once they have been caught they still need to be salted.

Theodoret                                                                                                                          The Cure of Pagan Diseases, 2, I ff. (SC57, p.136)


More True than the Truth?

Some people abandon the teachings of the Church and fail to understand how a simple and devout person can have more worth than a philosopher who blasphemes without restraint. Heretics are like that.

Heretics are always wanting to find something more true than the truth. They are always choosing new and unreliable ways. But like the blind led by the blind, they will fall into the abyss of ignorance by their own fault.

The Church is like paradise on earth. ‘You may eat freely of the fruit of every tree in the garden,’ says the Spirit of God. In our case he means: Feed on the whole of Scripture, but do not do it with intellectual pride, and do not swallow the opinions of the heretics. They pretend to possess the knowledge of good and evil, but they are impiously elevating their own intelligence above their Creator. 

Beware! By devouring the ideas of the heretics we banish ourselves from the paradise of life.

Irenaeus                                                                                                                                 Against Heresies, 5, 20 (Harvey II, p.379)

~ Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain, A Patristic Breviary: Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World