I was listening a broadcaster on the television last week who is Catholic, but he announced quite clearly that he believed in contraception and that it was stupid to think otherwise.
It made me think sadly about him who really believes I am sure that he is still a faithful Catholic and in communion with Christ.
He believes I am sure that his conscience is telling him, this is right, even though Christ says it is wrong. And then I began think of what is a good conscience and how do we form our conscience to be in communion with Christ.
Our conscience is not an isolated or wholly individual thing. Consciences are formed by experience, by authority, by what is human, and by what is divine. Consciences involve the soul, our most human element that seeks after the truth in all things.
The Truth is Jesus Christ. His teaching is infallible in faith and morals. It is not stupid or medieval or ignorant or unenlightened. And so when I come to ask myself what is right and wrong and have to search out what Jesus teaches?
I cannot come to understand His teaching alone: I can only discover truth through the Scripture and equally the Tradition of the Church that is a two thousand year old reflection on the Word of God. Listen prayerfully for the Holy Spirit and to people we trust to be in communion with Christ.
Obedience is not an easy thing to practice. Look at Abraham and his son Isaac. Psalm 116 says is well, “I believed, even when I said, “I am sorely afflicted.” Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.” Obeying the law of the Lord is not easy because it is not our interpretation of what is right or what the state says is a ‘right’ because all human rights come from God alone. What is important is admitting to yourself that God alone is the master of our lives; that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. Without him we are not enlightened.
For pilgrims of faith, Christ becomes the door, opening wide the mystery of divine providence which calls to obey the commandments and the will of Christ.
As we begin this Second Week of the Lent, our response to the call of the Transfiguration must be an authentic one as it embraces the response of Jesus, who suffered on Calvary and rose to the heavens in resurrection.
Our response must be one of selfless love, rooted in Christ, that is strong enough to withstand the pressures and the stress of a world captured in a life of sin.
Each of us who bear the Cross of Jesus becomes today-a beloved son or daughter on Whom God’s favor rests. Study the Sacred Scriptures; study the mind of Christ in the writings of the Bishops throughout the centuries.
Make sure your conscience is well formed in truth not ill formed in the lies and shadows of a society that continues to alienate itself from its human dignity and from God.
Pray for those Catholics who believe their enlightenment comes from self-awareness alone and not from Christ, our only true Light. Pray that our parish will always be faithful to the Church’s teaching thus being in communion with Christ.
Let this be our hope and our real joy in life-that the sacrifices we make for the love of Jesus do indeed make a difference in the eternal plan of the Father. Not our will, O Lord, but Your will be done in all things!