Conscience and character

| Kate Soucheray | August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments


The concepts of conscience and character are not only little understood in our current culture, but when we hear these words, they often elicit a pause from us. If we have a sense we have not attained the ideal behavior or expectation of a Catholic Christian, we may be more inclined to shame ourselves than to develop a desire of becoming a more devout person. However, shame is a human aspect that alerts us we have acted against our value system. But many people in our current culture lack a solid understanding of what that is. Therefore, a well-developed conscience evolves from a clear, well-articulated value system.

But just how do we develop a clear, well-articulated value system? This begins by examining what we believe is most important in our lives and the life of our family, which will then help us determine the values we believe will most effectively lead us, for it is around our values that we mold our actions and decisions about the way we will live our lives.

If we value hard work and committed action, we will find the decisions we make will reflect our desire to provide our best efforts and follow-through in all we do. We will hold ourselves to a higher standard, as well as our family members, as we seek to offer our best efforts at work, in our relationships with others, as well as in our relationship with God. In accomplishing this task, this faith life will hold great importance for us, because it will be the impetus and platform from which we will make our decisions. These decisions, if we have integrity, will have consistency and accountability with the core of our beliefs, which will be both a beacon of light for us, as well as a daily guide. It is our faith life that offers us a map of sorts, as we commit ourselves to live out of our value system each day.

ACTION CHALLENGETalk with your family over a mealtime this week about your value system. Share what you believe your core values are and strive to live them out in your daily lives.

For example, if we value respect and honest treatment of each person we encounter, we will understand that gossip and negativity cannot be part of our daily routine. We will treat each person as we would want to be treated, encouraging them to become the best of themselves in a troubled world. We would do all we could to inspire and uplift them toward their goals, finding joy in their success.

If we value a close relationship with God, we would find ourselves incorporating daily prayer into our lives, as well as regular participation in the sacraments. We would find we are shaped and molded by our faith, as it offers us the transparent, encouraging guidance we seek to fulfill the goals we have set for ourselves.

Our conscience and character will be built on these precepts and will flourish in an environment of support and inspiration. We must actively seek these fundamental aspects of life, for they are certainly not commonplace in our world today. However, we can change that. As we live our lives according to our clear, well-articulated value system, we will find our children will emulate these values and aspire to live by them in their own lives.

They will return the extra money the clerk gave them by mistake, rather than pocketing it for another purchase at a later time. They will forgo an invitation to a party that is certain to have underage drinking and no adult supervision. They will turn away from the offer to cheat on an assignment or test to procure a better grade. They will become a person of conscience and character in all they say and do, thereby bringing the essence of faith into every aspect of their lives. As parents, this is our most important task: to help our children learn to discern right from wrong and live according to the precepts of our faith. No easy or simple task in this broken, troubled world.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from The St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

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Category: Simple Holiness