Discernment and Conscience

In his Angelus Address today, Pope Francis, Son of Ignatius, spoke of this Sunday's Gospel. He said that Jesus invites, he does not impose – in effect leaving it to the conscience of his hearers to accept and to follow – or to refuse. However, the Pope goes on:

So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.

And, because, as a teacher, Francis knows the importance of example, he continues:

Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense. When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart – and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow.

The rest of the reflection is here.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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