2 Resources Bible, Dr. Wm CCC, GOF materials St. Anthony Messenger The Catholic Source BookB.Haring “Free and Faithful in Christ”Veritatis Splendor John Paul IIArchbishop Pilarczyk Twelve Tough Issues – And More
4 QuestionWhat does it mean to you that you were created by God to have free will?
5 FocusConscience asks “What is the right thing for me to do right now?”Communal aspect of Conscience and free willFree will to choose to be with God or not
6 DefinitionThe word CONSCIENCE comes from two Latin words: “cum” meaning “together”, and “sciencia” meaning “knowledge.” The root meaning gives an indication that “conscience” is based upon our communitarian nature.
7 DefinitionA good conscience is not self-assured or self-affirmation. Rather the disciple is one who chooses to be in constant dialogue with God, and is especially attentive to the voice of the Spirit within and during times of prayer and reflection. The disciple has a constant concern for the integrity of other persons, rather than being primarily concerned with doing “my own thing”.
8 What is Conscience?Conscience is the power of making a judgment between good and evil. The judgment has to do with how moral principles and values apply to a concrete situation. Conscience answers the question: “What is the right thing for me to do here and now?”
10 What is Conscience? Appropriate answer depends on three elements: KnowledgeEvaluationApplication
11 KnowledgeFirst, we must know what is right in general. We need to have assimilated from family, neighbors, school and church the general demands of goodness, of moral behavior. We have to know what the “moral” rules are, rules which are rooted in teachings about God and humanity, about good and bad.
12 EvaluateSecond, we must evaluate the specific circumstances in which we find ourselves. Which circumstances in a situation are important and which are not? Which are of primary importance and which are secondary?
13 ApplicationThird, we need to apply the moral principles and values to our specific circumstances. This implies discerning the fit between our circumstances, as we have analyzed them, and the moral principles and values according to which we direct our lives.
14 ConscienceBecause we are individual spiritual beings gifted with intellect and will, each faced with our own personal mix of situations and circumstances, we cannot avoid making personal judgments of conscience. We cannot turn all moral decision making over to someone else. We are called to do right, and we are responsible for what we do. The discernment of what is right here and now, for which we are individually answerable, is the work of conscience.
15 ConscienceCCC 1776 –Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sound in his heart at the right moment. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.
16 Following ConscienceOur conscience is the final norm for judging the morality of our action, here in our life, now. Nothing, no one can take its place. This is what it means to be guided by our conscience. We have an obligation to follow our conscience, but I also have an equal obligation to form my conscience, to do what is necessary for its proper functioning.
17 ConscienceConscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed…In attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly cultivated with the grace of God
18 Forming ConscienceWe first need instruction. We need to understand where our life comes from, what its purpose is, how we are to reach the goal set for us beyond ourselves and beyond the whims of the moment, what is important and what is illusionary. For this instruction we turn to the word of God and the teachings of the church.
19 Forming ConscienceGod’s love gives us guidance through he teachings of the church. The community of the faithful has not only received the word of God, but has also prayed over it, reflected on it and tried to live it through the ages.
21 Forming ConscienceThe moral teaching of the Church looks on reality not in terms of individual preferences here and now, but in terms of how the love of God is expressed in the life of all the faithful. What we do determines what we become, and in order to do what is right, we first have to know what is right.
22 Erroneous JudgmentCCC 1790 –A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were to deliberately act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.CCC1792
23 Right - WrongDoing what is wrong is always harmful; doing what is good is beneficial. Goodness corresponds to reality, to the way in which God created us to live.
24 Freedom of ConscienceFirst, since my conscience is the final judge of what I must or may do, nobody can make that judgment for me.Secondly, it concerns the relationship of civil society to my religious beliefs. My conscience is “free” because no civil gov’t has a right to tell me what I must believe or what religion I am to practice.
25 VERITATIS SPLENDORThe way in which one conceives the relationship between freedom and law is thus intimately bound up with one's understanding of the moral conscience. (54)
26 VERITATIS SPLENDORThe relationship between man's freedom and God's law is most deeply lived out in the "heart" of the person, in his moral conscience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience can, when necessary, speak to his heart more specifically: 'do this, shun that'. For man has in his heart a law written by God. (54)
27 VERITATIS SPLENDORThe text of the Letter to the Romans which has helped us to grasp the essence of the natural law also indicates the biblical understanding of conscience, especially in its specific connection with the law: "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law unto themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them" (Rom 2:14-15). (57)
28 VERITATIS SPLENDORAccording to Saint Paul, conscience in a certain sense confronts man with the law, and thus becomes a "witness" for man: a witness of his own faithfulness or unfaithfulness with regard to the law, of his essential moral rectitude or iniquity. Conscience is the only witness, since what takes place in the heart of the person is hidden from the eyes of everyone outside. Conscience makes its witness known only to the person himself. And, in turn, only the person himself knows what his own response is to the voice of conscience. (57)
29 VERITATIS SPLENDORCertainly, in order to have a "good conscience" (1 Tim 1:5), man must seek the truth and must make judgments in accordance with that same truth. As the Apostle Paul says, the conscience must be "confirmed by the Holy Spirit" (cf. Rom 9:1); it must be "clear" (2 Tim 1:3); it must not "practice cunning and tamper with God's word", but "openly state the truth" (cf. 2 Cor 4:2). On the other hand, the Apostle also warns Christians: "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom 12:2). (62)
30 Free WillFreedom of will means that human beings have the ability to choose to cooperate with God’s will – in other words-, to do what is right – or to choose not to.
31 Free WillLiving things, both plants and animals, perform actions based on instinct. Human beings are different precisely because of free will choices. We do some things based on instinct but mostly we make choices.
32 Free WillGenesis – God did not consider creation complete until human beings who could choose their destinies – becoming partners with God in creation – came into being. Gn. 1:27 each made in God’s image. You live out that sacredness by choosing to love other people.
33 Partners with GodFree will doesn’t simply mean that we have freedom to choose what we eat for lunch or even what we will do for a living. We are talking about the freedom to cooperate with God in making the world right and beautiful.
34 TemptationTemptation is the desire to go against God’s will based on the illusion of happiness. We believe that a wrong choice will bring us greater happiness than a right choice, even though, in our hearts- we know better. We give into temptation because…..
35 TemptationsWe begin to wonder if God really loves us as much as we thought. Does God have my best interest at heart? After all isn’t everyone else doing it?
36 Free WillFree will always remains intact: with it your ability to choose life and reject death. Jesus made sure of this when, through his own free will choices, he destroyed the power of temptation and sin to control you.
37 Free WillThe more you come to see what free will is all about, the more likely you will avoid buying into one of two extreme misconceptions about God.1) God is a mean judge waiting to “catch” you.2) God is a sleepy old man unconcerned about you.
38 ChoicesTo say that we have free will is to say that our actions really do matter. Your daily choices can strengthen your relationship with God and with one another.
39 Focus Conscience asks what is the right thing for me to do right now Communal aspect of Conscience and free willFree will to choose to be with God or not
40 Next Time Going Deeper: Nov. 18, 6:30 pm and Dec. 13, 6:30 pm Parish Night: January 17 or 20Only two datesMartin Luther King DayThe Reality of Sin