Don’t Tell Me What To Do! Resources for this session: Don’t Tell Me What to Do!, written by Fr. Dave Heney Catholic Morality – Sue Sack Father Robert Barron – Morality & Conscience Father Robert Barron – Morality, Character, Relationships Father Robert Baron – God and Morality http://www.wordonfire.org/
Morality is about making decisions. Both reason and instinct help us make decisions. In our culture good decision is difficult. RELATIVISM:anything goes, nothing is universal, different situations, ages and cultures each have different truths INDIVIDUALISM:it’s all about what’s best for me SECULARISM:anything beyond this life in which we now participate and that which is rational or materialist is incomprehensible and invalid
Some questions about truth – What IS truth? Is there truth anymore? Whose truth? What does truth have to do with Catholic morality? For Catholics, truth is more than rules and morality is about more than rules. In The Catholic View Truth (morality) > rules Truth (morality) > law Truth is universal more than relative to a particular people, place, or time
We learn about truth in numerous ways. Two Foundations Natural Law says that truth can be found in human nature -Certain things are true for all people in all places throughout the ages -truth has to do with what is always universally good for human beings Divine Law as revealed in Scripture and Jesus offers universal truths for all people, whether Christian or not - Particularly concerning who we are meant to be with God and for each other
What is good? Freedom Love Dignity Free Will Truth is particularly rooted in human nature. Every human has access to natural moral law because it is present in the heart of each person and established by reason. Born good? Babies help unlock the origins of moralityBorn good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality In theory – people of other faiths or no faith are able to use this type of moral reasoning to make good decisions. However – SIN can prevent us from using moral law effectively
Divine Law – The Old Testament For the Catholic Church, the Old Testament provides lessons and rules that clarify the natural moral law. The Old Testament identifies sin but does not include faith in Jesus
Scripture – New Testament A source of morality that fulfills and refines the rules provided in the Old Testament.
The moral approach of the New Testament emphasizes acting on the basis of LOVE, rather than merely trying to avoid sins or to achieve eternal life. CATHOLIC MORALITY IS ABOUT LOVE….but what kind of love? What is Love? -To will the good of the other --to intend for another person what is good for them What is the Good? -That which gives or sustains human life -Marriage, children, friendship -Knowing and loving God in a just society What is Love not? -Individualist or ego-driven -Dependent upon a particular response -Simply a feeling, Love is a verb, it is an action -Self-derivative or self-sustaining, it comes from and is sustained by participation in the divine relationship
Where does all this “stuff” about love and morality start?
God freely creates the world out of love -The world is a free gift -Human beings made in the image of God -We are made to be, like the Trinity itself, in relationship with God and each other -We are meant to walk with God in friendship in the Garden What is the Jesus’ Greatest Commandment? Love the Lord with all your heart and soul and Love your neighbor as yourself. This rule “trumps” all the other commandments and laws. All Catholic Moral Teaching derives from Imago Dei and an unconditional respectful love due all people.
What About Heaven? Catholic Morality is in part about our future eternal life but that is ONLY obtained by living this form of moral life, based on love, NOW! In other words, we don’t live the rules simply to be following the rules. The rules give us the minimum requirements for leading a moral life. Salvation occurs on Earth.
The Components of Human Dignity Equality Freedom Goodness Service to others Worship of God Balance
EQUALITY We are all equal to each other before God -We may have different talents and personalities but our human dignity, regardless of age, gender, race or culture is the same -We therefore all deserve to be treated with honor and respect -We are each unique expressions of God with our own God given mission and life purpose -No one person on their own authority can tell another how to live his/her life
FREEDOM A large part of our God-given human dignity lies in our personal freedom to choose! -Will we follow God’s plan? -Will we agree to God’s plan? -We always have freedom to change -Freedom allows us to be who God wants us to be We must realize that every choice will have consequences.
GOODNESS God created us as good, pure persons. -God can not/did not create evil -We are good not because of anything we do, but because God loves us -Our actions do not make us good, God’s Grace does What does God want and expect? -To be honest about our imperfections -To respond positively to God’s goodness When you respond positively to God’s love you are naturally going to live a more moral life. You realize the love and you want to live in that love.
Service to Others An innate part of our humanness is to be in service to others. We don’t live for ourselves alone. To fulfill our purpose/mission as human beings we must be in loving relationships with others which includes service to others. We serve God by serving and caring for each other and for creation. Worship Moral people humbly recognize they are dependent on God for all life. Gratitude is a loving response to all that God has given us and the realization that all life is a gift with its source in God. We acknowledge that we aren’t in charge, someone else is.
Balance Living the ”Cycle of Gratitude” is the way we keep our lives in balance. This includes living the Greatest Commandment, participating in worship/prayer, serving each other and being stewards of God’s creation. When life is in balance we tend to naturally live moral lives. When we choose to live out of balance morality becomes an issue.
What About Sin? A reality of the moral life is the actuality of sin, our own sinfulness, and our need for God’s mercy. Denying the existence of sin results in spiritual and psychological damage because it is ultimately a denial of the truth about ourselves. Admitting the reality of sin helps us to be truthful and to be healed. All sin is a failure to love, a failure to participate in the cycle of gratitude. All sin is in someway an attempt to make gods of ourselves. Within us then is both the movement toward good because we are made in the image of God, and the darker impulses toward evil because of the effects of original sin.
SALVATION God unceasingly offers mercy and forgiveness. God’s mercy is available in this life in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are strengthened to live a moral life with the Holy Eucharist. + VIRTUES To live a moral life is to practice virtue – both human and theological virtues. A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person to not only perform good acts, but to give the best of himself We acquire virtues by frequent repetition of acts, by following the examples of others, through prayer, through the sacraments