by Andrew Koslosky KGCHS, Contributing Writer

Where do you stand before God? Do you have a “clear Conscience”?

Do you stand up for your moral beliefs when you pick leaders and their policies? In other words, do you vote with your Conscience, one which is guided by your spiritual beliefs?  Maybe you are someone who doesn’t have time to examine your Conscience… This week let us take a look at the act of examining our Conscience.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

Conscience is that inner voice which accuses us when we do wrong.  It’s an alarm that sounds within… warning us ahead of time.

The world says, “Let your Conscience be your guide.”

But on examination we find that is not always a good idea.  Conscience doesn’t set the standard of right and wrong; it only applies the standards that you’ve been taught.

Conscience is like a thermostat…it can be set to operate at many different levels. It is like a sundial…you can shine a flashlight on a sundial and make it say anything you want, if you hold it from different angles.

Conscience is like a window, and the light coming thru the window is the Word of God.  The dirtier the window, the less light gets thru…it isn’t as pure…it browns the light.

The trouble with the advice… “Follow your Conscience” or “Let your Conscience be your guide,” is that most people follow it like someone following a wheelbarrow…they direct it wherever they want it to go and then follow behind.

So how do we clear our Conscience?

An Examination of Conscience, a cornerstone of Catholic life, is a reflective exercise in which you assess your thoughts, words, and deeds in light of the Church’s moral teachings.  This introspective examination serves as a means of spiritual growth, Reconciliation, and renewal. It is a tool used to prepare yourself well for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

One of the most popular guidelines used when examining the Conscience is to reflect on the Ten Commandments.  St. Paul gives us another tool with some guidance in Ephesians as to the sort of lifestyle that should be expected of Christians:

Reflecting on this, is a good way to make an examination of Conscience. He highlights the following points for thought. Truthfulness – we need to be people who can be trusted… to tell it like it is.

Lying should have no place in our lives.

We need to avoid anger – it distorts our thinking and opens us up to further sin. We should be productive people – making a contribution to our community as best we can.

We need to avoid gossip and negative talk about others.

We should not display malice or bitterness towards others.

We need to be kind, and we need to forgive. Many people within the church have struggled with the Examination of Conscience as a tool to be used before the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“I’m ok with it…I just don’t believe it’s a sin,” they say.

Well, truth isn’t based on feeling, it’s based on facts. Their Conscience is still there, it’s just been defiled! As an example, how is it in America that we’ve come to the place of allowing a woman to decide to kill her unborn child?

How do we allow Human Trafficking of women and children or allow the practice of Euthanasia?  How do we as a society turn our heads from the thousands who are homeless in this country?

Let’s be clear – we’re going to fail.

Yes, we will all do things, say things, or act in a way which we will regret later, and we know we are not living up to the standards God expects of us.  I do it, you do it, all because we are not perfect.

Yet a Conscience filled by the Holy Spirit will set us straight. Some sooner than others.

Jesus died to save us from all sin, but we must acknowledge our mistakes, ask forgiveness, and repent… doing our best to avoid the same mistakes…and move closer to God in our everyday lives.

This is why an Examination of Conscience is so important before the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Still, there are hard questions like, as Christians are we not to defend our nation or are we not supposed to go to war to defend our rights and freedoms?

There have been many times when God’s people have had to go to battle to defend their rights and freedom.  There have been many times that God’s people were called to stop that which was evil. They did not do it because of their hate for the enemy but rather for their disdain for what is evil.

That brings us to the Examination of Conscience before making choices regarding leaders and their policies.  We as Christians must vote our Conscience, guided by our spiritual beliefs as to what idea is effective.

There is no middle ground here in following your spiritual beliefs.  The phrase “Vote your Conscience” has historical roots in democratic societies where individual freedom and moral responsibility are highly valued.

It suggests that when making a decision, especially in a voting context, one should not merely consider external factors like party loyalty, peer pressure, or pragmatic considerations, but rather base the decision on personal ethical beliefs and moral principles that you follow spiritually.

This concept is pivotal in situations where the popular opinion or party line conflicts with my personal beliefs.  There is no middle ground here either as far as making decisions.

You must vote with your Conscience, one which is filled with your spiritual beliefs.

It is difficult and it is hard to follow these at a certain perspective.  It can cause families to have disagreements, anger, and create unhealthy stress that could affect your personal health.

But it is essential that we follow the Christ’s Church teachings and stick to our Christian Beliefs in every aspect of your life.  I encourage you to take a few moments out of your busy lives to examine your Conscience.

“If we undertake the Examination of Conscience with greater faithfulness, perhaps we will realize that what we sometimes consider a stumbling block is rather a rock we can step on. Knowledge of our sin helps us to rise.”

-Saint Teresa of Calcutta

“Good Conscience is the most valuable asset of all!

– James Madison

What kind of Conscience do you have?  Are your choices in line with your Spiritual beliefs that you identify with?

Use the Sacrament of Reconciliation to gain a better understanding and to clear your Conscience.  Every Church in your community offers the Sacrament either by appointment or before masses.

I remind you to come to the Healing America Service at Holy Family Church on July 10, 2024 at 6:30pm.

We will pray for unity, give thanks and pray for the safety of all our Armed Services Personnel, along with our Police and Fire Department Personnel.  Sometimes it is as simple as taking a stumbling block and using it as a rock we can step on to move forward.

Peace my brothers and sisters…till next week.