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Our Conscience has to be Informed

刊登日期: 2013.11.17
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

 

 After having considered the different traps our modern thinking has laid for us, I would like to take us back to the topic of conscience. 

St. Paul, in his second letter to Titus, wrote: “Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Titus 3:14-15) 

“Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed.” 

At the ordination of a priest, the bishop admonishes the priest to, “Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.” Those are very sobering words. We read the Bible because they are the Word of God whom we believe to be Truth and Love. We as Catholics also rely on the many writings of the Church in all these 2000 years of her history. Many beautiful thoughts have been shared by the great saints. Do we read them? 

True, many novels and ar t i c l e s i n magazines are good and entertaining reading. But do they help us grow spiritually? People in different professions take time and energy to keep up with their skills and knowledge of their profession by continuous reading and studying in their area of livelihood. Do we read what is important for our LIVElihood of faith? Imagine an engineer not reading of the newest and latest inventions. Or a doctor not keeping up the new discovery in germs or surgical techniques? Preposterous! How about our faith? Likewise, we need to keep up, not with something new of itself, but with our latest growth and maturing on our journey of faith. 

“You know from whom you learned it. From infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures.” 

Although I was not baptized until Form 6, I went to Precious Blood Elementary School (寶血小學) in Happy Valley and St. Joseph’s College (聖若瑟書院) at Kennedy Road. All of those years, I was taught what was good and wonderful of the Catholic Faith. I did not really get it since it was not practiced at home. But the foundation was laid. The ideas and thoughts were deposited. It became real and alive when I began to consider them for myself. Many Chinese know something of the writings of Confucius. But until the person takes an interest in the content, it would remain something memorized and recited. Nice words! 

“Capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

This is the heart of the matter. What we learn from the Church, in the Bible and Her Writings (called Sacred Tradition), give us WISDOM. We cannot come to know Jesus and follow Jesus without knowing the teachings of the Church. And we cannot know the teachings of the Church if we do not read them. How much time do we spend on reading secular material, watching TV programs that have no real value, playing video games that are at best distractions in life and, with increasing thoughtlessness, texting meaningless communication? 

1 Tim 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit explicitly says ….. some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.” 

Be aware. Not only are we what we eat, we are what we read. 

Pray to God for the desire to know Him better. Take the time to read Him in His Sacred Word. Allow the saints to share their love of Jesus through their writings. Be invigorated by the sweet words of LOVE.

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