Here is part of our New Testament reading for today, from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans: ‘For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’
It is the voice of conscience that enables us to distinguish right from wrong – as St John Henry Newman wrote: ‘It is a messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ …’
These words are much needed in our own day, when ‘what I feel’ becomes the defining principle of both thought and action.
May we heed St John Henry’s words, and may God bless us in His service today.