Today’s Gospel opens with an exhortation calling for true and lasting conversion of heart in the lives of all disciples of Jesus. There is no point knowing all about the gift of salvation unless we are willing to apply it to our lives and preach its essence to others. It is easier to know what to do than to do it. The challenge of conversion will be with us every living moment of our lives.

Karl Rahner SJ, once wrote (in about 1949 I think) that it is harder today to know and do what is right than in any other age or time! Why? He argued that the multitude of influences and the pluralistic society in which we now live (if that was how he saw it in 1949, how much more would he be convinced of its truth today!?), make it very difficult for us to discern the truth from among all the opinions and outright errors that are placed before us as legitimate moral options according to the various different authorities in the world. I believe he is correct and that this difficulty also reaches into the spiritual realm and makes it more difficult for people to affirm and live the Christian way of life because there are so many different options available to us all today.

Having outlined the challenge, the only answer to it is to open our hearts to the truth of the Gospel and surrender in faith to the offer of salvation and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us through the moral maze in which we have to live our lives. We need the help of the Holy Spirit, and the help of the magisterial teaching of the church in order to form our consciences well. Without a well-formed conscience we will too easily be led astray by the seductive attractions of the easy and pleasurable life that assaults our senses in the mass media, and in particular coming from the world of advertising. All this means that there are an enormous amount of distractions as well as a lot outright errors that vie for our attention and allegiance in today’s world. In former centuries the choices have not been so numerous and nor has society been as pluralistic as today. All in all, it is a difficult time when it comes to making moral choices.

What do I do to form my conscience so that it will make the right moral choices when I need it to?

Father in Heaven, help me to choose wisely when I seek authorities to teach me about the correct moral choices to make in my life.