Posts Tagged ‘Belief’

Fides et Ratio

In 15 Audio on 2015/06/26 at 12:00 AM


1.Part One
Host – Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Dr. William Marshner, and Fr. George Rutler 

2.Part Two
Host – Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Dr. John Cuddeback, and Fr. George Rutler 



Catholic Prayers by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/08/23 at 12:00 AM

 • One of the great riches that I discovered within the Catholic faith when I converted was the vast number of ancient and beautiful prayers that are part of our liturgical and spiritual heritage as Catholics.

• In my early days as a Catholic a friend of mine gave me a book of Catholic prayers and devotions that is full of such things, and it’s a book that I use every single day.

• Those of you who come to daily Mass may see me carrying it around. It’s a little blue book with tattered edges that is obviously very well used.

And I’m sure many of you who are a little older than me still have an old daily Missal somewhere that has a few holy cards tucked within it and that bears the marks of daily use.

• Growing up as a Protestant, we had very few such formal prayers. When we wanted to pray,we usually made up a prayer on the spot, which is beautiful way to express the deepest desires and longings of our heart to our Lord and is certainly a wonderful way to pray.

• But what I like about the ancient and traditional prayers of our Catholic faith is that they, too, express the desires and longings of our heart, while at the same time conveying our theological beliefs as well.

• In fact there’s an old expression in the Catholic faith: lex orandi lex credendi, which means “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” In other words, if you want to know what we believe as Catholics, just read our prayers, because our prayers are expressive of our theology.

• One of my favorite prayers in our Catholic faith is the Salve Regina, the “Hail Holy Queen”, because it’s a beautiful expression of whom we believe Mary to be and the powerful intercessory role she plays in our lives.

• And the last line of the prayer is my favorite: “Pray for us, most Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

• The promises of Christ, of course, are endless joy and peace in Heaven, and in this prayer we are asking Mary to help us reach this most important goal of salvation.

• Now as Catholics we believe that salvation is a free gift from God that Christ procured for us through His suffering, death and resurrection. Salvation is not something we earn by our own merits. Salvation is a gift of grace that we receive, and with which we must cooperate.

• The primary way that we receive our Lord’s saving grace is through the seven sacraments of our Church. The 7 sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders, are vehicles of God’s saving grace.

• In considering salvation sometimes our Protestant and Evangelical friends are fond of asking us: are you saved? The answer for us Catholics is actually YES! We were saved at our baptism. And we are saved every time worthily receive one of the sacraments!

• The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that Christ Himself is at work in the sacraments, and that they do not depend on the holiness of the minister or of the recipient.

• “From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.” (CCC #1128)

• Now that last point is so important! While the sacraments convey grace simply by being performed correctly, if we want to receive the full benefit of grace, we must be properly disposed to receive the sacraments.

• And our readings today give us the key to how we properly dispose ourselves so that the grace of the sacraments will bear fruit in our lives.

• The Gospel today speaks of the authority of Christ. As Jesus speaks in the synagogue in Capernaum, the Jews are astonished at the authority that Christ shows in His teachings, and even the unclean spirit in the possessed man is subject to His authority.

• In the first reading we are told of the importance of listening to the Lord, and the responsorial psalm encourages us not to harden our hearts when we hear the Lord’s voice.

• The point that is made in all of these readings is that we must open our hearts to the Lord. In humility we must be willing to submit ourselves to His authority and try to live according to His will. This humble submission to Christ is the key to being properly disposed to Him.

• The responsorial psalm we have today is Psalm 95, which is known as the Invitatory Psalm. In other words it is a psalm by which God invites us. In particular, our Lord is inviting us into a life of grace.

• Catholic clergy and religious are required to pray a collection of psalms and prayers every day known as the Liturgy of the Hours; Psalm 95 is the first psalm that we pray every day.

• Psalm 95 is a simple reminder of Who God Is, what He’s done for us, and how we should respond to His generosity. As such, it is a great preparation for the day.

• Psalm 95 tells us to be joyful and grateful before the Lord. It calls us to humbly bow in worship before the Lord, and most importantly it encourages us to listen to Him, to submit ourselves to Him, and to open our hearts before Him.

• Doing these things – following the prescriptions of this psalm – is the very best ways that we can dispose ourselves to receive the grace of the sacraments!

• Specifically, if we want the sacraments to bear fruit in our lives, we must be willing to accept the authority of Christ and His teachings. There is a certain obedience that is required of us.

• Simply put, we cannot expect that the grace of the sacraments will be efficacious in our lives if we choose to live in a way that is contrary to the teachings of Christ as expressed in Sacred Scripture and in the constant teaching tradition of the Church.

• And so if you are living in a way that goes against Church teaching, such as through an illicit relationship, the use of contraception, or even through the failure to forgive someone who has hurt you, as your pastor I beg you to stop because you’re missing out on God’s grace.

• God desires to save each and every one of us from our sins, but He will never force Himself upon us. And if we obstinately cling to our grave sins, then we cannot cling to our Lord’s saving grace that comes to us through the sacraments.

• That being said, obedience alone is not enough to be fully disposed for the grace of the sacraments. As Psalm 95 tells us, we must also be thankful and joyful.

• When we go to receive the sacraments, most especially Holy Communion, we must strive to be recollected and conscientious. We must strive to approach the altar with praise and thanksgiving, with full knowledge that when we receive the Eucharist, we are receiving the gift of salvation: Jesus Christ Himself under the appearance of bread and wine.

• My dear friends, the Catechism teaches us that the sacraments are necessary for salvation (cf. #1129). With this in mind let us try to properly dispose ourselves for receiving them through humble obedience and a joyful sense of gratitude.

• And in this process, let us commend ourselves to the prayers of our heavenly mother, Mary: “Pray for us Most Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

Benedict XVI: Is It Rational to Believe?

In 07 Observations on 2013/02/28 at 11:11 AM

“As the Year of Faith progresses we carry in our hearts the hope of rediscovering our joy at believing and our enthusiasm for communicating the truth of faith to all. … This leads us to discover that our encounter with God brings value to, perfects and elevates that which is true, good and beautiful in mankind”, said the Pope in his catechesis during today’s general audience, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Faith, he explained, “means knowing God as Love, thanks to His own love. The love of God … opens our eyes and allows us to know all reality beyond the limited horizons of individualism and subjectivism which distort our awareness”.

Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to the rationality of faith in God, emphasising that the Catholic tradition “has always rejected the so-called principle of ‘fideism’, that is, the will to believe against reason. … Indeed, although a mystery, God is not absurd. … If, in contemplating the mystery, reason sees only darkness, this is not because the mystery contains no light, rather because it contains too much. Just as when we turn our eyes directly to the sun, we see only shadow – who would say that the sun is not bright? Faith allows us to look at the ‘sun’ that is God, because it welcomes His revelation in history. … God has sought mankind and made Himself known, bringing Himself to the limits of human reason”.

“At the same time, God, with His grace, illuminates reason and opens up new horizons, immeasurable and infinite. Therefore, faith is a continuous stimulus to seek, never to cease or acquiesce in the inexhaustible search for truth and reality. … Intellect and faith are not foreign or antagonistic to divine Revelation, they are both prerequisites for understanding its meaning, for receiving its authentic message, for approaching the threshold of the mystery. … The Catholic faith is therefore rational and also nurtures trust in human reason. … Knowledge of faith, furthermore, is not contrary to reason. … In the irresistible desire for truth, only a harmonious relationship between faith and reason can show the correct path to God and to self-fulfilment”.

“A correct relationship between science and faith is also based on this fruitful interaction between comprehension and belief. Scientific research leads to the knowledge of new truths regarding mankind and the cosmos. The true good of mankind, accessible through faith, indicates the direction his path of discovery must follow. Therefore, it is important to encourage, for example, research which serves life and seeks to combat disease. Investigations into the secrets of our planet and the universe are also important for this reason, in the knowledge that man is placed at the peak of creation, not not in order exploit it senselessly, but rather to protect it and render it inhabitable.

“In this way, faith does not enter into conflict with science but co-operates with it, offering fundamental criteria to ensure it promotes universal good, and asking only that science desist from those initiatives that, in opposition to God’s original plan, may produce effects which turn against man himself. Another reason for which it is rational to believe is this: if science is a valuable ally of faith in our understanding of God’s plan for the universe, faith also directs scientific progress towards the good and truth of mankind, remaining faithful to that original plan.

“This is why it is vital for man to open himself to faith, and to know God and His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ. The Gospel establishes a new humanism, an authentic ‘grammar’ of humankind and reality”, the Holy Father concluded. “It is rational to believe, as it is our very existence that is at stake”.

VIS 121121

Learn to “see” God again

In 07 Observations on 2011/09/23 at 10:00 AM

“You may ask me: ‘But, does God exist? And if He exists does He really concern Himself with us? Can we reach Him?’ It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch Him or pick Him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to perceive God, a capacity that exists within us. We can get some idea of the greatness of God in the greatness of the Cosmos. We can use the world through technology because the world is built in a rational way; and in the great rationality of the world we can get some idea of the Creator Spirit from which it comes; in the beauty of creation we can get some idea of the beauty, the greatness and the goodness of God. In Holy Scripture we hear the words of eternal life; they do not simply come from men, they come from Him and in them we hear His voice. Finally, we may also catch some glimpse of God through meeting people who have been touched by Him. I am not just thinking of the great (of Paul, Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa), I am thinking of the many simple people about whom nobody speaks. Yet when we meet them they emanate some quality of goodness, sincerity and joy, and we know that God is there and that He also touches us.Let us commit ourselves to seeing God again, to becoming people who bring the light of hope into the world, a light that comes from God and that helps us to live”.

Copyright © Vatican Information Service Vatican City

Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ – Finding God Through Faith and Reason

In 15 Audio on 2011/09/21 at 6:00 AM

Finding God through Faith and Reason

Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., lends insight into new evidence gathered from the fields of contemporary philosophy and physics which supports proof for the existence of God. The nature of the universe itself, including many constants which preserve the balance of daily operations, connotes the existence of a creator. The principle of intelligent design leads to logical conclusions about the nature of God

Please click on this link to access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7132&T1=Spitzer

Finding God through Faith and Reason

1. How Can You Prove Godʼs Existence?

Fr. Spitzer surveys the types of evidence as A Priori, A Posteriori, as well as publicly and privately accessible, and distinguishes between evidence that has recourse to experience or sensation and that which does not. Using the argument that to “achieve the unachievable,” as in saying “past time is infinite,” is a contradiction and therefore impossible, Fr. Spitzer concludes that there must be a “creation event” because time must be finite, and hence a creator must exist.

2. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proof of an Uncaused Cause

In the history of life in the universe, Fr. Spitzer distinguishes between two forms of being: the Caused Causes, which rely on something else in order to exist; and the Uncaused Cause, or that which needs nothing other than itself to exist. Going back into the past and positing an infinite number of caused causes gets us nowhere in determining ultimate causality.

St. Thomas sheds light with his Proof of the Uncaused Cause: There must be at least one uncaused cause. The Uncaused Cause cannot cause itself. There can only be one Uncaused Cause (God).

3. Metaphysical Proof Part One: Proof of an Unconditioned Reality

In the history of life in the universe, Fr. Spitzer distinguishes between two realities: Conditioned Reality, or that which must have conditions fulfilled in order to exist; and Unconditioned Reality, that which does not need to have any conditions fulfilled in order to exist. If going back in the line of successive causalities or agents, there are a finite number of conditions, the final condition must also be a conditioned reality, needing something else to fulfill its conditions for existence. If there are only conditioned realities, then nothing can exist. If the cat is dependent on an infinite number of conditions to exist, it is unachievable, and will never exist. Therefore at least one Unconditioned Reality must exist.

4. Metaphysical Proof Part Proof of an Absolutely Simple Reality

Fr. Spitzer examines the Proof of an Absolutely Simple Reality. As a presupposition, he states that, “If there is no Unconditioned Reality, then no conditioned reality (that which must have conditions fulfilled) can exist.” How does one describe the coexistence of the Unconditioned Reality with all conditioned realities? The Unconditioned Reality must be defined as absolutely simple. “Simplicity” denotes Something so transparent to itself that it literally has no intrinsic or extrinsic boundaries. “Absolute Simplicity” connotes no exclusivity, only total compatibility with everything. Hence we see how God can co-exist with the created universe, permeating it with his omnipresence.

5. Metaphysical Proof : Proof of a Unique, Unrestricted Reality

Fr. Spitzer looks into the Proof of a Unique, Unrestricted Reality. It is the nature of finites and boundaries to exclude. Therefore the simpler the reality, the more inclusive. Absolute Simplicity means lacking all intrinsic and extrinsic boundaries, or excluding properties. An Unconditioned Reality cannot exclude anything from itself (Absolutely Simple). An Absolutely Simple being must be infinite and unique (one and only one).

6. Metaphysical Proof : Proof of a Continuous Creator of All Else That Is

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof of a continuous creator of all else that is. First, there must be a last condition that the conditioned reality depends on for existence. The one Unconditioned Reality is the ultimate ground of reality for all conditioned reality. The one Unconditioned Reality is the Creator of all else that is. The Unconditioned Reality is continually thinking all reality into reality. If God stops thinking us into existence, we would become nothing. God is an absolutely simple, unique, continuous Creator of all else that is.

7. A Priori Cosmological Proof: Proof that Past Time Is Finite and Requires a Creator

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof that past time is finite and requires a creator. Past time has occurred; it has been achieved. The notion of infinite past time is impossible, for it would constitute an “achieved unachievable.” Since past time must be finite in any possible universe, then it must have a terminus (a beginning). If past time had a beginning, then it could not have created itself.

8. A Priori Cosmological Proof : Proof that the Creator of Past Time Is Not Conditioned by Time and Is Therefore Absolutely Simple

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof that the creator of past time is not conditioned by time and is therefore absolutely simple. Past time must always be finite in all possible universes, in all possible conditions; it must have a beginning, prior to which it is nothing (does not exist). There must be one “creator” of past time and the universe, who is necessarily timeless and completely unchangeable. The Creator of past time is trans-temporal, not conditioned by past time.

9. A Posteriori Cosmological Evidence: The Universe Is Finite in Time and Space, Implying a Creator

Citing cosmological evidence, Fr. Spitzer states that the universe is finite in time and space, implying a creator. Einstein had suspected that the universe is finite. Hubble discovered that the universe is mostly “red-shifting,” meaning that the universe is expanding! The universe is not only expanding, it is slowing down in its expansion. The universe has a finite mass, 10 to the 55 Kg. The observable universe is likely only 13.7 billion years old. What was it prior? The universe literally did not exist prior to 13.7 billion years ago. If the universe began at a Big Bang, we know it is 13.7 billion years old, and it was hence created. The intelligent design of the universe implies that the Creator must be a super-intellect.

10.Teleological Evidence : The Extreme Improbability of the Universe Being Capable of Sustaining Life

Fr. Spitzer explains the extreme improbability of the universe on its own being capable of sustaining life. An anthropic universe is capable of giving rise to and sustaining life, whereas a non-anthropic universe is incapable of giving rise to life. The universal constants in relation to each other (the speed of light, minimum lengths and time, etc.) can only have a very narrow window of values in order to accommodate life. Any value above or below that narrow window of values will never give rise to any life form. Therefore God had to arrange the constants of the universe in such a way that life is continually sustained.

11. Teleological Evidence: The Extremely Improbable Universe Betokens a Super-Intellect Designer

Fr. Spitzer cites evidence that the delicate, precise balance of life in the universe of its own nature requires an intelligent designer. Carbon is the building-block of life. Very slight variances in the resonance of the Carbon atom or Oxygen atom would preclude any bonding, precluding any life from forming. The odds against our universe developing are so great, it would be like a monkey randomly tapping keys on a typewriter to produce “Hamlet.” Hence the extremely improbable universe betokens a super-intellect designer.

12. Manifestations of God’s Absolute Simplicity: Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Being 

Fr. Spitzer surveys what can be said about God through the nature of universal truth. Absolute simplicity implies no intrinsic or extrinsic boundaries. This pure acting power, or being itself, could act as a unity for every existing finite being. We know that mind can unify things, for truth is a unity. The truth itself is an unrestricted act of understanding, understanding itself and all else that is. Five transcendentals manifest Godʼs absolute simplicity: Being, Truth, Love, Goodness (Justice), Beauty. If Truth Itself, Love Itself, Goodness Itself, and Beauty Itself are all manifestations of absolute simplicity, then there can only be one Being Itself.

13. Evidence of the Human Soul: Our Desire for Perfect and Unconditional Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Being

Fr. Spitzer observes that human beings have five transcendental desires for perfect, unconditional and unrestricted being, truth, love, goodness and beauty. Human beings seek unconditional truth: the perfect set of correct answers to the complete set of possible questions. We seek the unity of all forms. The five transcendental desires of the human being point directly to the existence of the soul. The soul innately longs for its creator, as St. Augustine wrote: “For Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

14. The Proofs in Light of Christian Faith: One God, Three Persons and the Incarnation

Fr. Spitzer notes that there is not more than one absolutely Simple Reality–only one God, and only one nature in God. But there are three Persons in One God. How can this be? Three Self-Consciousnesses are making unconditional use of the one infinite Power source. The Son’s self-consciousness entered into the thought of creation, subjecting Itself to the conditions of a finite human nature, while still making use of the infinite Power Source. The only explanation for why the Son would do this is LOVE (a perfect act of empathy), making Himself perfectly accessible to every human being.

Please click on this link to access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7132&T1=Spitzer

Do You Know Jesus?

In 07 Observations on 2011/07/20 at 11:11 AM

Often, this question is posed directly and suddenly by well-meaning individuals who love Jesus Christ to determine the state of another’s relationship with Him.

Like many, I’m asked this question often.  My reply is: “Absolutely!  I receive Him, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, every Sunday in Communion.  Can you think of a more intimate union than that?”

So, how do I know this is true, that Jesus Christ is truly present in Holy Communion, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity?  It’s right in the Scriptures.

First, the writer of Corinthians presents the case for Christ’s presence in Holy Communion throughout several passages of Corinthians.  He writes in I Cor. 11: 23-27: “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This IS my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup IS the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”

He then goes on to explain in 1 Cor.15:3 that “it was attested to us by those who heard him” meaning the Apostles at the Last Supper.  The Apostles confirmed the veracity of the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and proclaimed His message of  salvation in the Gospels: in Matthew 26:26-29, in Mark 14:22-25 and in Luke 22:19-20.

Each Gospel account captures the words of Our Lord, the Eternal Word of God, when He says: ”This IS my body.”  He doesn’t say, “This is like my body” or “This symbolizes my body.”  He says, “This IS my body.”

The writer of Corinthians continues in I Cor. 1: 21: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

And, 1 Cor. 15 :1, he admonishes: “Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, 2 by which you are saved, if you hold it fast–unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

So, how do I know that Jesus Christ is truly present with us in Holy Communion?  Through the Word of God, the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ Himself . . . to him be Glory, Praise and Honor forever.

The Art of Conscience by J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/06/25 at 12:00 AM

A Catholic man in his 20s had not attended Sunday Mass in many years. He was also not too discriminating is some of his other moral choices. His drift began after receiving Confirmation because he fell into the trap of thinking that he did not need or had no obligation toward God after Confirmation.  When asked why he did not go to Confession, he replied that his moral lifestyle did not bother him at all, and, therefore, he had no need of Confession. (It did not occur to him that his lifestyle might “bother” Someone else.)

In recent years much has been said and written about the primacy of conscience, that conscience should be obeyed, that it is our normal moral guide. Some of the talk about conscience arises with those whose moral bent is less than Biblical.

Conscience is a judgment of the intellect that tells us to do good and avoid evil. It is part of the natural moral law implanted in the minds of all human beings. This is why St. Paul could say that all humans have a chance at salvation. This conscience is a divine gift . . . unless distorted. All normal people know that some things are good (helping others) and some things are evil (lying, stealing).  In fact, when societal consciences do not follow the rules, the society will collapse. Conscience is an exclusively human property; it is not to be found in any other creature.

It is true that there is a primacy of conscience. We must follow our own conscience. But, conscience cannot be a purely subjective and personal interpretation of the moral law.

Objectively speaking, this means that the young man in the opening story is doomed to Hell because, while he did follow his conscience, it was a totally false conscience made so by the man himself. Thus, his moral judgments were false, too.

To make valid moral decisions, a conscience must be what is termed “informed”: the conscience and its choices must be based on objective truth. The divine moral law is not a menu of options.

There are several types of false consciences:

1. Scrupulous – These persons see sin where there is none, see venial sins as perhaps mortal, negatively interpret whatever they do or don’t do as a moral failure. They live a life of constant moral anguish over their supposed “evil” ways. Most are aware of the problem because the priest in confession will tell them that they are being too hard themselves, yet the scrupulous seem powerless to help themselves.

2. Lax – Is the opposite.  These people take a cavalier attitude toward morality. What is mortal sin, they declare venial; and what is venial is not worth bothering about.Theirs is a very subjective view of what is right or wrong for themselves. These are Catholics described as “cafeteria Catholics” who pick and chose what doctrines and morals appeal to them. The others are ignored or rationalized. Thus, it is that majority of “Catholics” who favor abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, etc.  We see it also in the fact that, even with this record, Saturday Confessions are at a minimum while those who receive Holy Communion on Sunday amount to 99% of the congregation.

3. Dead – These people are totally amoral. The moral rightness or wrongness of an action does not enter into their evaluation of it. There is only a subjective sense of right and wrong.”I decide what is right or wrong for me; no one else does”. They become their own moral standard. The idea of sin is foreign to them. While we cannot judge the moral condition of anyone, we can certainly say that, objectively, Hitler, Stalin and Mao probably had no consciences at all. There are those people not as well-known as these who proportionately are just as bad.

4. True –  Is based  on subjective  truth, that is, reality. We are obliged to base our conscience on what is objective truth and reality. We cannot base it on what we want to think is true, what we decide is true or what appeals to us. Otherwise, conscience becomes a tool to serve one’s whims, desires and propensities.

There are three sources of a true conscience:

1. The natural moral law that applies to all humans. It demands that we do good and avoid evil. It is best exemplified in the Ten Commandments which are the written form of the natural moral law.

2. The Holy Scripture correctly understood, and not subjectively interpreted.

3.  The Magisterium of the Church. This is the teaching authority of the Church whose authority to teach was given to the Church by Christ Himself. This authority enables the Church to lead people to salvation because the Church is the earthly source of divine Truth and objective  truth. If the Church officially declares something to be morally right or morally wrong, it is seconded by God Himself as He promised the Church“Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed Heaven”.  MT. 16:19.  One with a true conscience has no problem with this idea.

As we pass through life, we have many significant experiences: extended family, school, graduation, career, marriage, children and sometimes retirement. But, the most important moment of anyone’s life is the last moment. If one is ready to meet God, your life has been a success regardless of what else happened in your life. If you are not ready, your life has been a failure regardless of what else happened in your life. The goal of human life is to be united with God for eternity. This is His idea. Simple as that, whether you believe it or not.

Cultures change, moral attitudes change, philosophies come and go, movers and shakers are here today and gone tomorrow, but God and his law remains unchanged. Whether you believe it or not, accept it or not, act accordingly or not, reject it or not, it doesn’t matter. The eternal by definition never changes. A true conscience is a valued guide to the final moment. If you have a true conscience, follow it. If you do not, you’d better get one before it is too late. God shows mercy to the repentant, but not to the morally arrogant.

Oh Thomas, What Did You See?

In 07 Observations on 2011/06/21 at 11:11 PM

When Thomas saw Our Lord and exclaimed: My Lord and my God! (John 20:25)…these words were an act of faith and self-surrender.  Thomas’s reply was not simply an exclamation of surprise, it wan an affirmation, a profound act of faith in Christ’s divinity.

St. Gregory the Great comments we are delighted by what follows: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’  There is no doubt that we are included in this statement, for with our whole soul we confess him whom we have not seen in the flesh.  It refers to us, so long as we live in accordance with faith; because only the one who practices what he believes really believers. (St. Gregory the Great, Homilies on the Gospels, 26,9.)

Fernandez, Francis IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD.  Vol. VI, 45.1