THE DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING HUMAN
FROM LAW TO CONSCIENCE

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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Each person is bound to seek the truth and having found it to embrace it. “On their part all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold it fast.” “In the formation of their consciences, the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church.” (Declaration on Religious Freedom #1, #4)

How do we inform our consciences? Here we depend on the theological virtues. The theological virtues of faith, hope and love constitute a person a Christian and supply the inner dynamic from which flows every authentically Christian action. For the Christian life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived in faith, hope and love.

Faith, hope and love are called theological virtues because they have God as their immediate object. These virtues enable us to have an intimate, personal relationship with God. They are mentally distinguishable but practically inseparable. We can distinguish one from another. But in the concrete world of reality it is hardly possible to have one without the others, at least in some degree. These three virtues create a virtuous circle which is the inner dynamic of a Christian. Faith generates hope. Faith and hope generate love. And love produces loving actions which reinforce and strengthen faith and hope.

God is omnipresent and loves us unconditionally. This is a given, always present and always available. We make them our own, and put limits on them, by the intensity of our faith, hope and love. “Whatever is received is received according to the disposition of the recipient.” This is the lesson of the parable of the sower and the seed. It is the quality of the soil that determines the quantity and the quality of the produce.

The first and the most fundamental of these virtues is faith. Salvation history is the history of faith. The Old Covenant begins with the faith of Abraham, our Father in faith. (Genesis 15:6) The New Covenant begins with the faith of Mary, our Mother in faith. (Luke 1:38) Our own person covenant with God begins with our faith. Faith is the first step on the road to salvation, and the secret of great sanctity.

Since the law comes to us through supernatural revelation, it is only through faith that we can accept and embrace it. So we see that the subjective force of the objective law, that is the force that the law has on me intimately and personally, depends on my faith, hope and love. So there is a very close connection between faith and morals, between sanctity and morality.

GOOD MORAL IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

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