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We are at the half-way point in our Lenten Mission. Last week, we continued on our mission by looking at the second portion of the Great and First Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your …soul…” (Mt 22:37b). This week, we will look at the third portion:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your… mind.” Matthew 22:37c

What does it mean to love God with all your mind? Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines mind as “The intellectual or rational faculty in man; the understanding; the intellect; the power that conceives, judges, or reasons… the faculties of thinking, willing, choosing, and the like.” That sounds like our conscience.

Now, let’s look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about the formation of our conscience…

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths (Gaudium et Spes, §16).[1] (emphasis added)

To be able to love God with all our mind, we must first be attentive to the law inscribed by God in every human heart. God’s voice is in us, calling us to love Him, to choose the good and avoid evil. The Catechism continues…

Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.[2]

Each individual is responsible for the formation of their conscience. Are you listening to the voice of God or the prevailing culture? Scripture tells us to test everything (against the Word of God and Church teaching), to hold fast what is good, and abstain from every form of evil (cf. 1 Thes 5:21-22).

In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105), we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church (Cf. Dignitatis Humanae, §14).[3]

There is One beyond you that directs your path. God has given you the Holy Spirit to “guide you in all truth” (Jn 16:13). Measure all that you do against God’s word in the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church. True freedom is found in following God and His commands. All other paths will lead to destruction, unhappiness, and despair.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

God is loving and merciful. Turn your heart to Him and listen to His voice. Form your mind through daily reading of Scripture and study of the Catechism. In doing so, you will be able to discern the voice of God from all the other voices in the culture. Obedience to God will lead to greater happiness in your life, your marriage, and your family.

Get to know the mind and wisdom of the writer of the Word, our Almighty God. As you grow closer to Him, your mind will be formed with a good moral conscience. In obeying His commands, you are loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. There is no greater happiness than to know God and to be known by Him.

God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise.[4]

Coming up next week, we will look at the Second Commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39).

Until then, may the Lord’s blessings be upon you and your family.

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1776; internet: https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm (accessed March 10, 2021).

[2] Ibid., §1783.

[3] Ibid., §1785.

[4] Ibid., §1721.