“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

Friday, 28 August 2020

Romans 12:2

In all we have been saying this week, I hope you have noticed that this strange thing we call conscience is above all dynamic: the call from the depths of ourselves, wherein we encounter that very ground of our being that religious people call God, challenges us to seek what is good in critical dialogue with law, religion and social convention. How you might ask, do I grow in conscience?

Paul gives us some useful hints in this text. Our moral transformation into persons of conscience is not a one-off thing but a process of renewal. The more we discern for ourselves, honestly, what God (or the Good, if you are not religious) calls us to do in a particular situation, the more our moral sense grows.

Conscience is a bit like learning a new language. Once you have the basic tools – grammar and vocabulary – you need to put it into use. The more you use a language, the better you get at it. Naturally, you will make mistakes along the way, but as you speak and write and read it, the language gets easier, becomes a part of you.

The greatest obstacles to learning a language are the often paralysing fear of making mistakes, or simply choosing not to learn it. So too with our conscience. It’s there within us all. Decide to use it. See the struggle to become a person of conscience as an act of self-transformation worthwhile enough to make mistakes along the way.

Loving God,

Inspire us to embrace the transforming power of conscience in our lives, that same conscience which helps to discern your will for us, that we may be renewed in ourselves, and in doing so, renew the world.


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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