Sunday, May 16, 2021

Concience in the Life of a Believer


 In Light of the World Column of the Catholic Times we have some thoughts on conscience. Something  we should never compromise no matter how difficult, angry, ignored, our pride hurting. That is what conscience is all about. How far have we gone to protect conscience?

Tolstoy says that 'how humans should live' is the most important issue in the pursuit of learning —emphasizing the most important aspect of life. But people see the pursuit differently. There are words like "Carpe Diem!" (Seize the Day) make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.
Pushkin emphasized hope: "Don't be sad or angry even if life deceives you." You have the romantic hope of  Maurice Leblanc: "Loving and being poor is better than being rich without love."  but than again to the  contrary,  William Thackeray wants to know does anybody have what they want? Will anyone be satisfied with what they want? 'Vanity Fair' gives insight into the futility of life. "Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! ... Which of us has his desire, or having it, is satisfied?"

The life we have lived is different, and the world we see is of course different. But if there is an important standard for identifying and judging what kind of life to live, it is conscience. Conscience is God's gift that we all have, and it identifies everything and leads us on to the right path.

The Catholic Church interprets conscience as "knowing together" in Latin, "Consientia," and teaches that conscience is "the voice of God" who has embedded this  law  inside of us ( Second chapter of Gaudium et Spes verse 16). Humanity, body and soul, heart and conscience, intellect and will is a unique being with the ability to distinguish between what is ethically good from what is not good and has the capability and  will to follow it. At the same time, conscience is the holy of hollies, the place where God is with us. It's a court of law and a confessional. Although the Gospel does not express much about this conscience, it describes the phenomenon of remorse related to conscience working in Judas, (Matt. 27:4) and Peter (Mark 14:72), who betrayed their teacher.

On the other hand, the word conscience is mentioned a lot in the letters of the apostle Paul. He says that for believers, acting according to conscience means acting by faith (Rom. 14: 23). We must recall that mistakes and errors occur when conscience is denied. We must be conscious of ethical judgments, acknowledge the stimulation of conscience, develop the ability to recognize this stimulation, and foster  and maintain this ability.
In the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a great deal is made of of the concept of  conscience. The Golden Rule for our growth in Humanity. Both as individuals and church, we are urged to act according  to conscience in the concrete places of life, and teaches us that the church's conscience is a tool to identify God's Word, freedom, and morality. The world constantly tests our conscience. What is your biggest enemy in the world now? Not caring about injustice in search of money and profit— thinking the world, neighbors, and conscience don't matter.

This has devastating and terrifying consequences. Can we really take responsibility for such an idea? Indeed, we rather lose more when conscience has disappeared from life.  A life without conscience, can't be a good to any person, one will not be living an honorable life, but a life avoiding God? Love, hope, faith, dreams and ideals, life and reality should all grow based on correctness. And this right hope begins with conscience.

"The Church's social doctrine is therefore of a theological nature, specifically theological-moral, 'since it is a doctrine aimed at guiding people's behavior' This teaching ... is to be found at the crossroads where Christian life and conscience come into contact with the real world. It is seen in the efforts of individuals, families, people involved in cultural and social life, as well as politicians and statesmen to give it a concrete form and application in history. In fact, this social doctrine reflects three levels of theological-moral teaching: the foundational level of motivations; the directive level of norms for life in society; the deliberative level of consciences, called to mediate objective and general norms in concrete and particular social situations. These three levels implicitly define also the proper method and specific epistemological structure of the social doctrine of the Church" (#73 Compendium of the Social Doctrine).

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