I mentioned conscience in my post earlier today. Let me define it for you, and then try to apply it to the idea of confronting the national conscience in regard to abortion, marriage and family, euthanasia, and other pro-life issues.
Conscience is “.. the ‘place’ where man is illuminated by a light which does not come to him from his created and always fallible reason but from the very Wisdom of the Word in whom all things were created.” (Bl. John Paul II, 1988)
Conscience then is the illumination deep within us arising from a Wisdom, a Word, whom we know is Jesus Christ. It is a meeting of a man or woman with that Wisdom in which directs him or her to do this and avoid that. It is an encounter with which speaks to us as we face moral decisions and issues. In this way, we must obey our consciences for it is the promptings of God and his Spirit that guide us.
This presumes, of course, that our consciences are well-formed. It is our duty to form our conscience, that is it is our duty to listen to God’s Word as revealed to us, not only in the particularity of our lives but in the communal experience – as interpreted by the Magisterium – of the People of God, the Church, the Body of Christ .
Indifference to the Truth leads to confusion and a profound adhesion to personal opinion or the opinion of the majority. The “journey toward a mature moral conscience cannot even begin if the spirit is not free from a mortal illness, very widespread today: indifference to the truth…” (Bl. John Paul II 1983)
Our national conscience needs reformation. It will only be done by consistently revealing to our fellow citizens the truth of human life, human sexuality, human relationships, and the common good, to which all people and nations are subject. In other words, we in the pro-life movement must consistently witness to the truth by our lives, how we vote, how we speak in the public arena, and our commitment to civic activity and in doing so form the national conscience.
Witnessing at times demands heroism. At times, it requires sacrifice. It never includes violence which is always false. It is non-violent in response to who God has revealed himself to be and how he has directed us to act in the immediacy of the moment.
I believe that if the national conscience is presented, relentlessly, the truth of Roe v. Wade and the injustice of abortion, it will eventually be reformed.
Let us pray that day will come soon.