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In the end, it’s ignorance

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There’s an interesting thing that St. Peter told the people who were amazed at his being able to make a lame man walk. After reproaching them for killing the very man who is the “author of life,” referring of course to Christ, (cfr. Act 11,15), he told them, “Brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers.” (cfr. Acts 11,17)

Yes, in the end, it’s ignorance that would lead us to commit error and sin in general. That’s because if we really know the real thing, why would we go against it? The problem is we really do not know what real knowledge is and, therefore, what ignorance also is.

Obviously, real knowledge can only be attained when one is truly identified with God who is the very author of truth. Knowledge that is attained independently of God, and is pursued simply by studying all sorts of sciences we have and all the other human and worldly sources of knowledge, can only be at best chancy. It may coincide with the truth or not.

When Pilate asked Christ, “What is truth?” (Jn 18,38), Christ simply kept quiet knowing that Pilate was looking directly at Truth himself, truth that is not simply mathematical, economic, social, cultural, etc.

Ignorance, therefore, is when we pursue knowledge independently of God. Even if such knowledge is a result of arduous study and a great accumulation of data and information, if it is not based on God, it would still be a false knowledge, which is another name for ignorance.

Sooner or later, it will lead us to go against God, as it encourages us to go after self-indulgence. Right now, many developments around the world point to that fact. Flaunting their so-called rich knowledge, many people have changed even the law of nature, and have gone to the extent of declaring themselves atheists, non-believers of God. And the effect is war instead of peace, division instead of unity, hatred instead of love.

Yes, it is this ignorance that led to the crucifixion of Christ. And yet, in spite of that, Christ offers forgiveness when he said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23,34)

We should try our best that our pursuit for knowledge begins and ends with God. Outside of that orbit, let’s convince ourselves that we would be doing it wrongly and dangerously. Thus, we should be strict in keeping the proper rectitude of intention when we study and do things to grow in knowledge.

The ideal situation should be that any progress in our knowledge should also show growth in our love for God and for everybody. Absent that, again let’s convince ourselves that we would be doing it wrongly.

To be sure, it’s not enough to be very scholarly. The pursuit of knowledge should lead us to be holy. After all, that is the ultimate and common goal we have. And the greatest failure we can have, in spite of whatever successes we can have in the different aspects of our life, is when we fail to become saints.

Let’s see to it that every time we study or do anything in pursuit of knowledge, we should put ourselves first of all in the presence of God, and remind ourselves clearly of the real purpose of our study.*

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