Thankful…For Confession

Perhaps it is the time of year, but I keep bumping into the realization that gratitude is a powerful avenue for grace and goodness in our lives. Which means that I have also become acutely aware of my heart’s lack of it. I have come to see that my perspective on most things is directly correlated to my gratitude in that area. For example, when my thoughts regarding someone I love seem to be overly critical, I realize that it is tied to a disproportionate focus on the qualities this person lacks or mistakes he or she has made. Once I start to consider the many wonderful qualities of that person or ways that person blesses me, my critique softens and my perspective widens.

Living without enough gratitude essentially means that we are constantly focused on what we, or others, lack. It breeds discontentment and sets us up for strive. As with the formation of all spiritual disciplines, I need to make deeper gratitude a habit in order to become a more thankful person. I have heard of people keeping gratitude journals, and I thought I would try it. It’s nothing elaborate, but I simply daily write a couple of lines about someone or something I am thankful to God (the source of all good) for in my life. In keeping with this mindset, I thought I would spend the month of November blogging about some big things we have to be thankful for in our lives.

thankful-for-confession

Continue reading “Thankful…For Confession”

(In)Formed Conscience: the Role of Virtuous Habits

Chifflart_-_Das_Gewissen_-_1877
Francois Chifflart – “Das Gewissen” (“The Conscience”)

Have you ever noticed that your conscience is less bothered by certain vices than by others? I know mine is. There are some big sins that would probably set off all kinds of alarms, but then there are those that we may continually commit without much pause or remorse. Why do some unvirtuous behaviors make us uncomfortable and others not?

I think it’s less because we have uninformed consciences and more because we have unformed ones. We basically know (intellectually) the difference between virtue and vice, what sin technically is and is not. But our intellectual understanding of sin doesn’t have a direct correlation to how comfortable we are or aren’t with our offenses. I find that the more habitual my vices, the more comfortable I am with them. On the flip side, when I commit a sin of which I am not in the habit, I feel the internal churning of that incongruity. Continue reading “(In)Formed Conscience: the Role of Virtuous Habits”