My Catholic Morals! Study Session Eight

Session 8 – The Truth will Set You Free

Pre-meeting Prep

Participants should be asked to read Chapter Eight of the My Catholic Morals! book prior to this meeting.

5 minutes – Gather

Snacks and informal social time as people gather as people arrive.

Try to be punctual and gather everyone together no longer than 5 minutes after the scheduled starting time.

5-10 minutes – Opening prayer and Scripture

Everyone sits quietly and the leader begins with the sign of the Cross and then invites a period of silence in the following way:

“Let us quiet ourselves as we begin this study of our glorious Catholic morals together.  ‘Lord, as we sit here for a minute in silence help each one of us to bring our own questions, concerns, fears and joys to You.  Help us, in this moment of silence to be attentive to Your gentle voice speaking to us, directing us, and calling us to a deeper faith.'”

Take about a minute in silence with eyes closed so that each person can speak to our Lord about their own particular cares and concerns.

Leader reads the following invitation: Let us ponder the Word of God. Let us reflect upon our own faith journey with the following questions: Do I believe?  How deep is my faith?  Am I open to letting God speak to me?  Am I open to the Word of God and willing to let God’s truth sink in more deeply?  Am I willing to let this new faith change my life?

The leader of the night prayerfully reads the following Scriptures, one at a time, pausing for about 30 seconds between each verse:

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  (Ex 20:16)

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all…”  (Mt 5:33)

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6)

And the Word became fleshand made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Falsehood I hate and abhor; your law I love. (Psalm 119:163)

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.  The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.  (Psalm 19:7)

Leader then says: Let us take a moment in silence reflecting upon these words. (a minute of silence)  

The Leader invites everyone to listen to the following prayer and join in, interiorly, as it is prayed aloud:

Lord, You are the Truth, the Way and the Life.  Help me to live in accord with Your holy Word of Truth and to live in the way You call me to live.

Keep me free from deceit, dear Lord, and make me a person of truth in every way.  Help me to know the Truth, to be set free by the Truth and to live fully in accord with You who are the Truth.

I surrender to You, dear Lord, my thoughts and my words and consecrate them to You.  May only holy thoughts enter my mind and may only Your words come forth from my mouth.  

May I never be led astray by falsity and error but only be led by that which comes forth from Your mind and will.  I love You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You

Amen.

The prayer time concludes with everyone professing the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

45-50 minutes – Discussion questions

Each person should be invited to share something or ask a question if he/she chooses to regarding the questions/discussion starters below.  Go through one question at a time and give each person an opportunity to say something if he/she chooses.  Avoid having one or two persons dominate the discussion.  Go around the circle and do not be afraid to share!  Your insights may assist someone else in their understanding of the topics.  Your question may very well be the same question someone else may have.  Some of the questions below will invite a personal sharing, other questions will invite you to share with others what you read in Chapter Eight.  The goal is to share both personally and to also make sure that the faith of our Church is clearly expressed and understood by all.

  1. The Eighth Commandment offers us two invitation.  First, it calls us to avoid lying and all falsehood.  Second, it calls us to the become people seeking the Truth in the deepest way.  Discuss how these two aspects of this Commandment set both the bottom line and upper limit of this Commandment.  
  2. Spend a short amount of time on the following offenses against the Eighth Commandment:
    1. Direct lying – Define a direct lie.  Is it ever permitted to speak a lie?
    2. Perjury – What makes perjury worse than directly lying?  Is there ever a legitimate time when one can commit perjury and be justified?
    3. The good name of others – Discuss the following ways that we do damage to the good name of another.  This is very common, especially #1 and 2.  Discuss also the effects and the proper response a person should have when sinned against in these ways.
      1. Rash Judgment – when a person even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor
      2. Detraction – when a person who without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them
      3. Calumny  – when a person by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them
    4. Boasting – Why is this a violation of truthfulness?   Discuss this, it’s similarity to detraction, and how it lacks humility.
    5. Right to privacy – Discuss the importance of privacy and ways that we can respect others privacy more.
    6. Professional secrets  – Share some of these obvious examples
    7. Media – Spend sufficient time discussing the media.  Often the media violates truthfulness by exaggeration, excessive attention to one topic, one sided presentations, sensationalism, etc.  How would a saint act as a journalist?
  3. The Eighth Commandment draws us to the upper limits.  Discuss these categories below regarding the upper limit to truthfulness:
    1. Entering the full Truth of God – The Truth is not black and white alone, rather, it’s like an ocean that has no limit to its depth and breadth.  Discuss ways that one enters more deeply into the Truth.
    2. Beauty as Truth – What does this mean and how is truth beauty.  Is beauty “in the eye of the beholder?”  Or is it objectiveand dependent upon God?
    3. Art as a reflection of Truth – How does art reflect and share in truth?

20 minutes – Final Reflections and sharing

Go around and give each person an opportunity to share what may have stood out the most to them from the discussion of the night or what left them the most confused so as to gain further clarity or insight from others.

5 minutes – Closing prayer:

Leader begins with the sign of the Cross and invites a minute of silence with all eyes closed.  Each person should reflect upon what was discussed, especially what stood out to him/her the most.

Leader then prays the following prayer:

We thank You, dear Lord, for the conversation we have had regarding You and the Truth that comes forth from Your mind and heart.  Give us the grace, each and every day, to immerse ourselves in all that You have taught and revealed.

Forgive us, dear Lord, for the ways that we have violated the Truth in our lives and restore us to Your grace.  For the ways that our words and thoughts have done harm to others, we ask pardon and grace to bring healing and peace.

Free our world from error and sin and establish Your law so that it may reign within society in every way.  

Jesus, I trust in You.”

Leader then invites everyone present to offer their own prayer in the following way (note: this can be done out loud but it may be preferable if it’s done in silence at the discretion of the leader):

Let us now each bring our own personal concerns before our Lord trusting that He hears us and knows all we need.  Let us entrust these prayers to Him with full confidence that He desires to take control.  (take a minute of silence for each person to speak to God their own personal needs for the night).

Leader then invites everyone to close with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be prayers.