Our sense of good and evil
WE need to foster and sharpen our sense of good and evil. These days, our understanding of good and evil has been largely drugged, the distinction blurred. Many of us now base our idea of good and evil mainly on shifty feelings or fads. We hardly go further than that.
For this, we have to make sure that we encourage everyone to get closer and more intimate with God. Our sense of good and evil depends on this more than anything else.
We can have our own philosophies, ideologies and other thought-systems that can give us ideas about good and evil, but unless all these are inspired by our living relation with God, they hardly give us anything valuable or lasting. They can even be dangerous.
God, our Creator and Father, is the author of all goodness, And evil is precisely known in the light of the good it lacks or goes against. Being intimate with God is vital in developing our sense of good and evil.
In this regard, we have to continually ask ourselves whether we are keeping the effort to maintain a lively conversation with God. This is crucial, because otherwise, we would just be at the mercy of whatever thoughts, feelings and perceptions can come to us.
It’s not enough to depend on some ideas of good and evil. Yes, we can and must study the doctrine and the principles of morality, the ways and methods, for example, but unless all these are animated by our living relationship with God, we would have a frozen understanding of things, prone to miss out many important if small details.
Thus, if we are still in doubt about the existence of God, or about the possibility of talking with God, then we really have a big problem that touches a fundamental aspect of our life. This matter has to be resolved early on, otherwise we would be coasting along dangerous zones in life.
Of course, to maintain an abiding relation with God requires effort and sacrifice. Some self-denial is involved as Christ himself said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24)
It stands to reason that we have to learn to mortify ourselves or deny especially our bodily senses, like our sight and also our imagination and memory, so that we don’t get separated from God or from his love or from the system his love generates in us.
It is understood also that we should try to avoid sin or even anything, no matter how small, that could displease God. So, we should try our best to shun from deliberate venial sins. For this, we have to make sure that we develop a growing fear for sin.
This may require some tremendous effort because nowadays the sense of sin seems to be disappearing or at least distorted. There are now people, even countries, who openly legalize sin. Somehow we need to ask God to grant us a real dread for sin.
Even more, we should make it a habit to do daily examinations of conscience so we would know the real status of our soul and nourish our sense of good and evil. Unfortunately, this practice is hardly known, much less appreciated and done. We need a real campaign to make this practice a regular part of our day.
In the examination of conscience we can probe more deeply on the real motives of our actions, whether they are good or bad, inspired by love or something else, like envy or hatred.
We can also get to see the roots of our defects and start to do something about them. Usually, the roots are our lack of faith and spirit of sacrifice that undermines our abiding and functioning love for God and others.
There are, of course, many other factors. One of them can be our tendency to trivialize our sins and malice, if not to refuse to acknowledge them, considering them only as imperfections, like simple warts and motes. It requires a tremendous amount of humility to be objective about the state of our soul, and to be realistic about good and evil.
We have to remember that in our spiritual life, there is never what is called a “steady state.” We are either growing or lagging behind, progressing or retrogressing, gathering with the Lord or scattering.
That’s why we have to have an abiding relationship with God. We have to be clear about this and about its feasibility, otherwise our sense of good and evil goes awry.
By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=29499