A Reflection on the formation of conscience
Globally, as well as in every human heart, a great battle is raging between Good and Evil. How can we train our children – the men and women of tomorrow – so that they are able to choose that which is good, beautiful, right, and true? How can we bring them to understand that their happiness – here on earth and in eternity – lies in the will of God?
Upon reflection, there is nothing more important than to lead our children to heaven. This important project begins with the formation of their conscience, from their earliest years. The prevailing individualism and moral relativism are huge challenges for parents who care about transmitting the true meaning of freedom, autonomy and responsibility.
Designed to help you reflect on this theme, the present workshop can be hosted as a parish-based event or in “domestic churches” (our own homes!), with couples and families acting as hosts for themselves or with groups of friends.
The moderator extends a few words of welcome to those gathered, summarizing the objectives of the workshop.
- Opening Prayer (Alternating):
Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.
Come, father of the poor;
come, giver of gifts;
come, light of the heart;
sweet guest of the soul,
In labour, grant rest;
in heat, refreshment;
in tears, solace.
O, most blessed light,
fill the inmost hearts
of your faithful.
Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.
Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.
Bend that which is inflexible,
enflame that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.
Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
your sevenfold gifts.
Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy!
- Reading from the Word of God:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 or Exodus 20 : 1-18 or Matthew 3 : 1-12
- Small groups discussion:
The moderator invites the participants to organize themselves into small groups – ideally limited to six or eight persons. Everyone is invited to discuss the questions found on the back of the brochure. (A photocopy of this page is given to each participant.) It could be determined in advance which questions are to be discussed by each group or groups could be left alone to choose those which challenge them. Each group chooses a secretary/spokesperson who will act as a representative at the end of the session (45 minutes).
- Sharing with large group:
In turn, the spokespersons sum up the thoughts of their small groups. Ideally, contributions should be limited to one or two insights per group. Should the number of participants be small, more time can be devoted to reflection.
- Thanks and optional closing prayer:
The moderator thanks the participants for their presence and their insights and –optionally– closes by inviting all gathered to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer.
- Parish bulletin:
A summary of the main insights emerging from the workshop can be published in the parish bulletin.
Suggested supplementary readings:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (see in particular paragraphs 1776-1794, 1803-1832, 1846-1869, and 1422-1484).
- Gaudium et spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (paragraph 43.2).
- Familiaris consortio, apostolic exhortation of Saint John Paul II (paragraphs 7, 8, 39, 43, 44, 72).
- Laudato si’, encyclical letter of Pope Francis (paragraph 49).
- Dives in misericordia, encyclical letter of Saint John Paul II (see, in particular, paragraph 15).
For personal prayer and meditation:
- Isaiah 5: 20
- Deuteronomy 30 : 15-20
- Psalm 138: 23-24
- Psalm 118
- Psalm 127
- John 10: 1-10
- Matthew 5: 1-12
- Acts 24: 14-16
- Romans 14: 1-6
- 1 Peter 3: 13-17
- 1 Timothy 1: 3-7
- 2 Timothy 1: 1-5