Moral conscience is addressed in paragraphs 1776-1802 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). It is our “most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (CCC 1776) Our conscience does not come pre-installed, it must be educated, and that education is a life-long responsibility. In this “[w]e are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit [wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord], aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teachings of the Church.” “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path…” (CCC 1785)
I am grateful for the witness and advice of three people, very close to me, who I can depend on to have clarity of conscience. Whenever I have a moral dilemma, I can talk to any or all of these people and come away thinking “of course, why couldn’t I see that?” It’s amazing how when I talk to all of them, they all give some version of the same advice.
I sometimes struggle with knowing what I am truly obligated to do, and what I am taking on unnecessarily. I tend to want to solve other people’s problems for them, which isn’t good for me or them. I’m trying to learn not to be afraid to deal with conflict clearly and immediately, see and admit my errors, but not take more than my share of the blame.
“Some rules apply in every case:
–One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
–the Golden Rule: ‘Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.’
–charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience…….it is right not to…do anything that makes your brother stumble.” (CCC 1789)
I’m working on it.