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Chapters 17 and 18 Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come. O God, take pity on us and bless us, and let your face shine upon us, so that your ways may be known across the world, and all nations learn of your salvation. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come. Let the peoples praise you, O God, let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and rejoice, for you judge the peoples with fairness and you guide the nations of the earth. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come. Let the peoples praise you, O God, let all the peoples praise you. The earth has produced its harvest: may God, our God, bless us. May God bless us, may the whole world revere him Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit… Hearing God’s Voice What is Christian morality? Special kind of knowing of what ought to be done. The science of what humans ought to do by reason of who they are Science we are able to know right and wrong How? – human reason, human experience, and divine revelation “by reason of who they are” – morality hinges on a correct view of the human person as a child of God and has dignity. Morality As A Response to God To be a moral person is to know how to be responsible. Catholic point of view Morality is our response to God. And we are able to do so because God gave us: Intelligence and freedom with the help of His grace Help of the Holy Spirit Support of the Church Help of the Magisterium Help of Jesus Christ Living A Moral Life To decide and act according to God’s plan; being responsible and cooperating with God’s grace. When we choose good and God’s plan, it leads us to happiness and our final destiny of union with God. Choosing “bad” things might lead to temporary satisfaction, but it often leads to a lifetime of misery and wasted talents. Living a moral life is living in the presence of God. It strengthens our friendship with God, makes us people of integrity, attracts other people to God, and helps bring about God’s reign. Character and Virtue Character is our “yes” or “no” to Christ’s invitation to friendship. Everything we process – experiences, images, words – help us create character. Virtues Virtues are healthy, good habits that help us do good and empower us to become what God wants us to be. Catechism – the habit to do good. Two types: Theological and Cardinal Virtues Cardinal Virtues From the Latin word, cardo, which means hinge. They are “natural virtues”; we gain these virtues through education and repeated practice. Prudence – responsible decision making; being able to select the right means of achieving good. Justice – giving God and neighbor what is due Fortitude – gives us the strength and courage to stand firm with our own convictions and do the right and moral thing; “spiritual guts” Temperance – virtue of moderation; regulates our appetite. Humans Are made in the Divine Image • Read Genesis 1:26-31 • The passage offers profound insights on being human 1. God created humans out of love. We are creatures, not creators. 2. Humans are the crown of God’s creation. He commands us to care for creation. 3. God made us in His divine image 4. God made humans to be male and female. It’s not an accident of nature. 5. All that God created is good. God is the creator • God’s greatness and goodness can be seen in His gift of creation. • God is our creator and keeps us in existence. • When we forget about God, or make ourselves gods, we wreak havoc in creation. • Starting point of morality admitting that we are creatures Human’s Place In Creation • Humans are called to be stewards of God’s creation. We fail in this responsibility when we do not care for one another and for the earth. • Humans are created to know, love, and serve God in this life and in the next. God makes us in his divine image • God created us in His divine image – meaning, God has endowed us with godlike qualities – to think, choose, love, and relate to others. • These qualities enable us to share in God’s own life. • Because we were created in God’s image, we possess dignity, value, and worth. Creation is good • Scripture tells us that creation and human creation are good. • The first humans were in harmony with God – working with God was seen as a collaboration, rather than toil. • Humans were created for friendship with God; even after we have sinned, God “gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) • Human life have purpose and meaning despite what nihilism claims – which denies that there’s meaning or purpose in life. Human dignity • Dignity is inherent – it is not something earned -- by the virtue that we were created in the divine image of God and called to eternal life with Him. • Our sinfulness and lack of talent, possession, or productivity does not lessen our dignity. Our dignity comes from a loving God who created us and sent His Son to die for us. • Jesus died on the Cross for every human person that existed, exists, and will exist. • Human dignity means everyone is someone, not something. OUR SPIRITUAL NATURE • Human beings is a composite of body and soul. The human soul is immortal. • The soul gives us the ability to think, have free-will, to love, to respond, and to grow. 1. Ability to think – we can discover the truth; we can recognize God’s voice which urges us to do good and avoid evil. 2. Free-will – ability to choose deliberately and take responsibility for one’s actions; can help determine who we are. 3. Ability to love – choosing to do good for the sake of the other; it is our most godlike quality. 4. Responsible beings –we are accountable for our choices and can result in good or evil. 5. Capacity to grow –we can learn from our sins and mistakes Making A Moral Decision Making an informed decision is about knowing the moral object (what), intention or motive (why), and the circumstances (who, where, when, how). Moral Object (What?) What – is what we’re going to do directed to a true good or harmful or destructive to who I am and others as God’s children? It’s the objective dimension of morality. The Ten Commandments and Scriptures can give us an objective guideline. Some actions are always wrong no matter what – murder of an innocent, direct abortion, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness etc. Actions – what we do -- expresses who we are, who we are going to be, and can impact others and the world around us. Intention or Motive (Why?) Why – what is your purpose or reason for doing something? It is the subjective dimension of morality. To intend something is will something. Our legal system recognizes intention (ex. 1st and 2nd degree manslaughter). It can include a series of actions for the same purpose. Or one action can be motivated for several reasons. Two rules for governing intentions 1. 2. Keep the intention good. Bad intention can contaminate what appears to be good, thereby making it wrong. Jesus insisted on good intentions for all of our actions (ex. giving money to the temple, fasting) The end does not justify the means. Good intentions do not make an act good if the means I use are evil. Example – cheating to get good grades, lie to help someone get a good job, medical experiments on non-consenting people to find a cure. Violation of this act can lead a breakdown of society. Example – direct abortion is always morally evil even if one intends good results. Circumstances (Who, When, Where, How?) Circumstances can increase or decrease the goodness or evil of an action ex. stealing $1 from a poor person vs. a millionaire – theft is still wrong, but not as bad. Circumstances can diminish a person’s responsibility for a particular action ex. someone who decides who have an abortion vs. someone who was forced Circumstances sometimes can make no difference in the morality of the case ex. stealing an iPod from a relative or a stranger; yelling the word “fire” at a movie theater ex. cheating using a cheat sheet or copying off someone Alternatives and Consequences Looking at a moral problem involves looking at it from different vantage points. Two rules: Do only those things that are morally acceptable Always prioritize persons as one created in the image and likeness of God Others Our actions can impact others Let your formed conscience be your guide Our actions need to mean what they want them to mean – “walk the walk” Consult others who are wiser and can help you make a decision “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” Prayer Jesus instructed us to pray alone and with others, and with childlike simplicity We pray for the strength to follow and accept God’s will Learning to “let go and let God.” Freedom and Responsibility Humans have the capacity to think and to choose. Humans have the capacity to love, which enables us to seek God – who is love. To possess freedom means to be responsible for our choices and actions, either good or evil. Characteristics of Freedom The Catholic Church teaches that freedom is necessary in order for one to seek God. There are those who believe in determinism – that humans do not really choose, but that every event, action, and decision is a result of forces outside of ourselves – such as the stars, environment, chemical imbalance, society, upbringing, education etc. The Church rejects this kind of strict determinism. Kinds of Freedom: External and Internal External Freedom – being free from outside factors that threaten our ability to choose – i.e. poverty and oppression. Internal Freedom – being free from interior factors that limits our ability to choose – i.e. fear, addiction True freedom frees us to develop our God given gifts and talents in a responsible way so that we can choose good, avoid evil, serve others, and love God. Limits of Freedom Freedom is not about “doing what I want to do.” Freedom is not license. This philosophy promotes selfishness and denies one’s responsibility to others and to God. Example – abortion rights. True freedom elevates our humanity, not demean. Abuses Against Freedom There are limits to human freedom – physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Impediments to freedom – these can limit our level of responsibility: Ignorance Inadvertence Duress Inordinate attachments Fear Habit These impediments do not have to enslave us, we can overcome them by cultivating good habits and virtues, and above all prayer and God’s grace. Responsibility With the power to choose, comes responsibility – “every act directly willed is imputable (accountable) to its author” (CCC, 1736). Our actions also have consequences – good and bad. By owning up to our mistakes we grow and learn from them. We must accept full responsibility for the sinful behaviors we voluntarily, freely, and willfully commit. Some actions are not totally voluntary (such as negligence or ignorance), and be less blameworthy. Emotions and Morality The most basic emotion is “to love.” Emotions are morally neutral – but depending on how we engage our emotions, can determine whether they lead us to something good or bad. What we do with our feelings in important. As Christians, our emotions should be channeled to something good. Law and Morality A good law can help keep us focus; it protects us from doing our own thing regardless of consequences. Law provides us with an objective standard or measure. It warns us of pitfalls and consequences. Without law, our society would be in chaos. The laws of morality are rooted in God’s law as revealed to us in Scriptures and Tradition. St Thomas Aquinas identified four types of laws – Eternal Law, Natural Law, Revealed Law, Civil and Church Law. Four Types of Laws St. Thomas defined Law as – “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one in charge of the community” (CCC, 1976). Law is reasonable – it makes sense and it’s fair (i.e. gun ordinance prohibits indiscriminate shooting). Law is for the common good – it’s to build up each other and care for the human community (i.e. fair income tax laws). Law comes from competent authority – appointed authorities can make and enforce laws. Law must be promulgated – it must be made known and advertised. Natural Law Divine Law is highest for of law. It’s source is from God. Natural Law is our participation on Divine Law. NL teaches us what to do and what to avoid. Using our ability to think, we can have a basic understanding of right and wrong. It corresponds to three basic human drives and need – preserving life, developing as individuals and communities, and sharing life with others. NL is implanted in our hearts. It is universal and unchanging for all people at all times It is the foundation and basis for civil laws and moral rules. Because of our weakened nature, it can be difficult to discern natural law. God has filled in this gap by what he revealed to us in the Bible – especially in the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. Civil law A specific application of the natural law according to their customs and circumstances. For example – why do have traffic laws? Not all civil laws are good laws. Laws have been passed that violate the dignity of humans (slavery, segregation, abortion on demand). Civil law is only morally good insofar as they conform to natural law and divine law. We are not required to obey unjust or evil civil laws, and we have the duty to do all we can to change it. The Old Law Also known as the Law of Moses; it is summarized in the 10 Commandments (Decalogue). Christians believe that it is holy, good, and spiritual, but imperfect – because it does not give us the strength and grace of the Holy Spirit. It is meant to prepare the people for conversion and faith in Jesus. The New Law Divine Law has four purposes: It helps us stay on the right path on the journey to God. It helps us discern what is right and wrong. It gives us motivation. It indicates what is sinful and destructive. The Gospel of Jesus which perfects divine and natural law – by helping us have pure intentions, be sincere in all our actions, to pray, and to forgive our enemies. Church Law Church Law is an application of Divine Law – to assist us in living our moral life. Catholics are minimally required to meet the obligations of the precepts of the Church: Attend Mass on Sundays Confess sins at least once a year Receive Holy Communion at least once a year Keep holy the holydays of obligation Observe the required days of fasting and abstinence. Provide for the material needs of the Church, according to one’s ability. The Beatitudes God created us to know, love, and serve him in this life and in the next. It is the how of our Christian vocation. Jesus As Our Moral Norm To live moral Christian life when we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). He is our moral norm because He is God made-flesh (fully human), and have become children of God through the Paschal Mystery. Examples of Jesus: Healed and forgave people – even his enemies Outspoken in speaking the truth Welcomed and called all people to God’s kingdom – especially those in the margins Prayerful and patient – even in betrayal Treated women and taught men to treat them with dignity and respect Sensitive to children, lonely, hurting, and rejects of society Jesus’ Teaching The Gospel writers focused on Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God – which is the reign of God’s justice breaking into our world. For this to happen we must repent – reform our hearts, minds, and wills, and avoid sin. This is called metanoia. Jesus’ recipe to live a good and moral life is love: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10:27) Love for Jesus is not a warm and fuzzy feeling It can be difficult loving our enemies, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming a stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned. We are called to conform our lives to Jesus The Eucharist enables us to live Jesus’ teachings, proclaim it, and transforming us as Jesus act in us. The Beatitudes Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied Blessed are the merciful, for they will show mercy Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law Jesus fulfills the Law of Moses by emphasizing its spirit and intent rather than stressing a strict interpretation of the “letter” of the Law. External observance is not enough We should forgive even our enemies because God has forgiven us. Jesus calls us to a higher standard of behavior With God’s grace it is possible for us to live up to God’s demands. Justification Justification – the Holy Spirit’s grace that blots out our sins through faith in Jesus Christ and baptism; it changes the state of the soul from spiritual death to spiritual life; it makes us right with God. Grace Grace – a free and unearned favor from God, infused into our souls at Baptism, that adopts us into God’s family and helps us to live as his children. Also known as sanctifying grace – it makes us holy; the grace of justification is an example. Other types of graces – Actual grace -- God’s direct intervention for our conversion or to make us holy. Sacramental grace – specific graces that comes from the sacraments Charisms – special gifts of the Holy Sprit given to individual Christians to build up the Church. Merit and Holiness Our good works and efforts can lead us or “merit” for us the ultimate happiness of union with God. Although God does not owe us anything – for he has given us all we have and all we are… Nonetheless, God has freely chosen us to join him in his work of grace. He decided that our “good works” can count as our participation in His work. Merit is what is “what is owed to us” for living a holy life and cooperating with God’s grace. Merit is only possible because of the love of Christ, who died for us on the Cross Definition of Conscience Good Conscience vs. Bad Conscience Payoff – we live a moral life, and a joyful life as well Conscience – a practical judgment of reason that helps a person decide the goodness or sinfulness of an action or attitude. It must be formed properly and followed. What Conscience is Not? Conscience as a majority opinion. Conscience as a feeling. Conscience as a superego – guilt based from upbringing or psychological conditioning. Conscience as a gut-instinct. Conscience as a “Jimminy Cricket” or an internal voice Conscience as a myth or creation of religion What Conscience is? An awareness of God’s call to be transformed in His image and likeness. A call to know and do the good, a call to love. A practical judgment of intellect – do good, avoid evil It is personal in nature It is a search for truth and applying those truth to daily living. How Conscience Works? We have acquired values and attitudes. A good habit is a virtue, and a bad habit is a vice If you cultivate a virtue, then you will instinctively choose good. Conversely, a vice can make us careless and haphazard. Must I Always Follow My Conscience? Yes – because through your conscience God calls and instructs you to be the person he made you to be. When you ignore your conscience , you are guilty of sin and you condemn yourself. Can my conscience ever be wrong? YES This is why we need to form and inform our conscience – by study and prayer. Failure to do so can lead to a serious error of conscience. That is why we cannot say: “I must always follow my conscience, therefore I need to do whatever I want to do.” What factors contribute to an erroneous conscience? Ignorance of Christ and His Gospel Bad example of other people Being enslave by our passions Being stubborn and holding on to the idea that our conscience is always right. Rejecting Church authority and teachings on matters of morality Lack of repentance Lack of love Fortitude To do what is right requires courage or fortitude – firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good. Fortitude can moderate fears and false sense of bravery; prompts us to do God’s work, but also to be patient in our suffering in doing what is right. Readiness to ready or to suffer and even die for what is right has often led many to be martyrs. Self-denial, prayer, and helping others can help us to be more spiritually courageous and have a moral backbone. Ways to resist negative pressure: resolve to be your own person, know your standards, use humor to say no, stay away from tempting situations, and remember the power of prayer.