Examine conscience daily – May 25
Conclusion of an article by Evangeline Davis, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office.
When Duke sang “Morality Gone”, he was recalling a time when morality was a way of life and when parents taught their children all the good values. Back then, it was an almost natural occurrence because of the educational, religious, political and social systems operating at the time and because of those ‘moral servants’ in authority who were spreading good values so effectively. There were clear standards by which we should live and behave. God was very much our One, True and Only “Superpower” and Lord.
Two recent experiences I had in secular offices – on the same day – opened my awareness to the dire need to inculcate the right attitude and respect for those whom we serve. In Luke’s Gospel, there are many examples of servanthood demonstrated by Jesus Christ Himself in His encounters.
At one office, the clerk was very diligent and satisfied the needs of all those who approached her in a patient and respectful manner. She dealt with her emotions in a very healthy and intelligent manner and with such moral correctness that we knew that such ethical behaviour could only have been inspired by God. She was clearly aware that she was operating as a child of God. In the other office, however, the clerk there was the opposite. She did not respond in a respectful manner and this was accentuated by her body language and facial expression.
We can assume that strong moral and spiritual values were instilled in the first clerk from a young age in the home and school and affirmed by the Church. The clerk who gave poor customer service exhibited a lack of proper values and was a reflection of what our society has become.
We must remember that people can only give what they have inside of them and training may be helpful. A well formed conscience helps us to give the respect due at all times.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary tells us that to “Regenerate” means to be formed or created again or spiritually reborn or converted, and that “morals” relate to principles of right or wrong and our ability to conform to a standard of right behaviour. Our society is replete with daily examples of a lack of morals – integrity, honesty, respect, transparency, justice, fair play, diligence, competence, and patience. One way of regenerating these is by having consistent outreach programmes to teach citizens the meaning and benefits of these moral values in our daily lives. Jesus’ words give us the guidelines for living these out.
To me, the element of respect is the core of moral society. “Respect is to know one’s own worth, and to honour the worth of others is the true way to earn respect. Respect is an acknowledgement of the inherent worth and innate rights of the individual and the collective. These must be recognised as the central focus to draw from people a commitment to a higher purpose in life” – Author Unknown.
As good citizens and members of this society – obeying the laws, taking care of the environment, looking out for each other in our families and workplaces, we are challenged to live out God’s word, His guidelines for living in harmony.
We must create an awareness that all is not well and that the Church, the home, the school and the community need to get involved and play a greater role so that individual lives will be improved and, ultimately, the entire society. Once on board, they will pass on the legacy to the future generations so there will be continuity. We know this task will not be easy, following the pattern of Jesus’ own journey on earth. Jesus struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane and even asked His father, “If it is your will take this cup away from me.” Yes, Jesus recognised that the source of his strength came from obedience to His Father’s will. As followers of Christ, we will only succeed in upholding good morals when we abide in Christ, “for He is the vine and we are the branches”.
May God give us the strength to walk the journey of life with regenerated values. A return to a daily examination of our conscience can be helpful as we struggle to form healthy relationships. The failure or success we have had in any day can be measured by the quality of our interest and compassion toward those around us. We reveal our heart in the way we listen to each other, relate to those in authority, or speak to the person who delivers our mail or collects our garbage. The way we share our resources and bear an injury can identify us as followers of Christ. Let us all make a decision to be moral human beings, holding on to Jesus, the solid rock, and allowing the Scripture and the Holy Spirit to take control as we prepare for the Feast of Pentecost, praying that the Spirit will empower, enlighten and enable us with the grace of God to regenerate morals in our individual lives and that this will have a ripple effect throughout our morally threadbare land.
Once we follow the proper God-given channels, there is a chance that morality will return … return…return. We pray that those who ought to be exemplars will pray hard so that when they are entrusted with public office they will be able to steer the nation successfully to the shore of morality so that eventually we’ll enjoy our Father’s company in heaven.