So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The grace of an informed conscience.

Every Catholic has the privilege and responsibility to inform his or her conscience in a way consonant with the revealed truths of the Catholic Faith.

How do we get to know Christ?

We meet Him in the Church, through His word (Holy Scripture) and the Sacraments. We meet Him most profoundly in Holy Communion when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

In other words, we meet Christ in the ways He Himself has given us to meet Him. He, Himself, is not bound to those ways. We, however, are. We are His disciples; He is the Master.
II. THE FORMATION OF CONSCIENCE (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.
1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.
1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.
We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.—St. Clare of Assisi.

We meet Christ in and through the doctrines provided us by Holy Mother Church. The testing of ideas is necessary in order for us to connect to reality and to help us avoid a pleasant fiction. That is, a god of our own making.

Catholics are interested in the reality of the person of Jesus Christ. We learn about Him so that we may recognize and embrace Him. Every time we learn something about Him, a window opens into our soul, a window through which shines the light of His grace.

Jesus, the Lord, reveals Himself to us when we dispose ourselves to His grace. The very fact that one responds to Jesus' call, even by taking a minute interest in His message, indicates Jesus is giving grace to the curious (searching, hungry...) soul. Jesus offers His grace to help us accept His invitation to newness of life.
CCC 1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.
How can we love Him if we do not recognize Him?

The doctrines of Christ are the necessary scaffolding, the canon or standard against which we refine our ascent and by which we allow our lives to be configured to or shaped by the teachings and person of Jesus. He gives us the grace to live His commandments. Jesus offers His grace to all. Those who accept Christ as Lord of their lives and accept His Gospel and keep His commandments will live forever.
Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.—1 Corinthians 9:25
The development of an informed conscience requires regular exercise. As spiritual athletes, our continued health and well being requires enthusiasm for the truth. Wisdom, knowledge, truth, hope, love, joy, justice, mercy—God offers His grace to live His call to newness of life in Christ in and through the Church.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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