THE DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING HUMAN
THE ULTIMATE NORM OF MORALITY

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

Table of Contents

DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING HUMAN

THE ULTIMATE NORM OF MORALITY

THE WILL OF GOD

FROM LAW TO CONSCIENCE

INTERIOR LAW OF THE SPIRIT

THE PERSON

CIRCUMSTANCES

PROXIMATE NORM OF MORALITY

PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS


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“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen. 1:1) God is the first beginning, the last end and the ultimate norm of everything. Morality is no exception. Morality begins and ends with God. God is also the ultimate norm of morality. Ultimately, it is not how we stand before others but how we stand before God. It is to God that we must give an account of our stewardship. “I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to the merits of his deeds.” (Jer. 17:10) (Last Judgment: Matt. 25: 31-46)

Our image of God, therefore, will determine to a large extent our ideas of morality. False man-made images of God produce false ideas of morality. To have a true understanding of morality, we must have a true image of God. But what is the true image of God?

We can know the existence of God by reason. (Romans 1: 18-25) But we could never know the intimate nature of God, or his designs and purposes, unless He would freely choose to reveal this to us. This He has seen fit to do through our Lord Jesus Christ. “In times past God spoke in impartial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through his son.” (Heb. 1:1-3) This revelation of Jesus Christ we know only through faith. So we see already the intimate connection between faith and morals.

The revelation of Jesus tells us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Therefore, love has the primacy in Christian morality. “The whole law is summed up in love.” (Rom. 13:10) “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22: 37-40)

God is love and love is diffusive of itself. God loved me into existence. I am an act of love of God. To prove his love for me He sent His only Son into the world to redeem me with His precious blood. (John 3: 16) “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us and sent his son as expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Love is not found in words love is found in deeds. Love proves itself by giving; gifts are the language of love. The more one loves the more one gives. Never has this language of gift-giving been spoken to me as God has spoken it to me. What am I anyway but a conglomeration of the gifts of God? Love is my origin, my mission and my destiny. All that I am, all that I have, and all that I will ever be is a spin-off from the reality that God loves me. Because God loves me He WANTS the best for me.

God also is truth. God knows me as only the Creator can know His creature. “O Lord, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar… Even before a word in on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it…Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; to lofty for me to attain…Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mothers womb.” (Psalm 139) “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) Therefore, God KNOWS what is best for me. And because God KNOWS what is best for me, and WANTS what is best for me, my greatest good is to be found in the will of God.

GOOD MORAL IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

     
© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved