Contemplation — The Fact Remains

Contemplation — The Fact Remains

Contemplation — The Fact Remains 1080 1080 SVDP USA

There are some popular sayings we sometimes repeat such as “Facts don’t care about your feelings” or “Facts are facts, whether you like them or not.” Both sayings are quite clever! They also are true, as far as they go, but both really mean the same thing: Shut up and do what I say.

A fact does not care about anybody’s feelings, but that’s only because a fact is not a person. In the same way, rocks don’t care about your pain. But we don’t just throw them at people’s heads to make that point. Facts don’t care about your feelings, but we should. This doesn’t mean we must abandon truth in favor of sympathy – quite the contrary!

Blessed Frédéric took great consolation in knowing that “while defending the truth with all my might, I never offended anyone.”  In our polarized time, this seems like a remarkable thing to say, and it turns out that our times are far less contentious and polarized than Frédéric’s.

Facts don’t care about your feelings. Rocks don’t care about your pain. Yet it can be so easy sometimes, during encounters with the neighbor, to become too focused on the facts. You have been evicted, and a shelter is the best place for you to go right now. That’s a fact. Many of the problems you face are the consequences of your own bad decisions. That’s a fact. Your debts are insurmountable. You need a plan for next month. Money won’t fix your problem. Fact, fact, fact.

It also is a fact, whether we remember it or not, that the neighbor’s problems can feel overwhelming. Some of them may garner nobody’s sympathy. The facts can make people feel very isolated, forgotten, helpless, and small, because facts, like rocks, don’t care about your feelings or your pain.

We do our neighbors no good by simply repeating to them the facts of their situations. The poor, our Getting Ahead training emphasizes, are experts in their own situation. They have already been hit in the head by their rocks. Like the Good Samaritan, we are not there primarily to focus on the facts; the passersby knew the facts. We are there to pour oil on the wound, to speak in a soothing tone, to offer a smile or a tear, to pause from our own lives and problems and truly share the neighbor’s.

Our virtue of simplicity calls us to speak not merely truth, but the Truth; the One Fact that stands above all others; the Fact that counts the hairs on our heads; the Fact that wipes away all tears; the Fact that transcends all worldly suffering.

Let he who is without challenges, has made no bad decisions, and has never needed help cast the first rock, and let us instead try to build Christ’s church upon it.

We serve in hope, and that’s a fact.


In light of the facts, how can I best convey hope?

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‘Tis a Gift to be Simple

  • Tim – I suspect that when you write about the Fact – but the Truth; the One Fact that stands above all others; the Fact that counts the hairs on our heads; the Fact that wipes away all tears; the Fact that transcends all worldly suffering – it would have been helpful to name The Fact. Simplicity is a virtue, but assumption is not. Can you help me out here by naming The Fact? Thanks, Irene Reimbold

    • Timothy P. Williams April 12, 2023 at 1:15 pm

      Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the “One Fact” – sorry for assuming, my dear Vincentian friend! I hope you are well, and please give my best to Dick, also!

  • Beautiful thought. It almost immediately made me mindful of the the Lord’s Prayer – treat others as you want to be treated. Thanks

  • Awakening message.My truth is living a life like Christ.Love your neighbor as He has love us.Let us continue to pray for this hurting world, that are
    getting away from God.Having beliefs that suits there lifestyle, instead of
    living a righteous life.
    Read, learn, memorize and meditate on
    the words of the Bible.

  • great timing here. I forgot to pay a Bill, and without coverage for 22 days not even knowing it. I really messed up and don’t need anybody to keep reminding me. Jesus got ou of this Jam, and Jesus will do the same using our hands and feet while being non- critica,, and patient, and loving for our Friends.

  • Jacqueline DeLeon April 10, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    Beautiful contemplation! Its all too often that the world has become accustomed to interacting without love. We are living in times of spiritual warfare and must be keenly aware of how we interact with each other within the society. We know a bettering, yet not easier way, to live the virtues of the Gospel through helping others and each other. We need to speak more on this subject and must not let the cecular views govern our mission. Our mission is not just some words written, but it should be noticed, especially on how we treat those we serve and each other.

  • We are not here to fix every problem. Sometimes we are not able to fix any problems. But, we are here to listen, to empathize, to provide the sense that no matter how deep the hole, how horrific the situation, they are not facing it alone. Many times the assistance we are able to offer is not the one we prefer. In our own lives, many times the solution short term or long term is not ideal but we can only work with what is at hand. The one element which never changes but is always available to share is our compassion – our ability to let our neighbor be heard.

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