A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Making a Choice

Posted on: July 15, 2013

I remember an old commercial plugging “The Game of Life” board game. Someone trying to choose which path to follow said, “Decisions, decisions…”

Sometimes we struggle to make what seem to be simple choices.

For a week, I debated whether to accept a friend request on Facebook. The choice should have been easy—just click one box or the other—but I was torn. I thought and prayed about it, and I finally reached a decision over the weekend. Not only was I relieved to have made a choice, I also knew that it was the right choice. Suddenly I felt motivated to take on craft projects and mending that had waited for the mood to strike me, sort clothes to toss or give away, and basically take on the world.

While making this decision took far more mental energy than it should have, my example shows how making the right choice can lift a weight from our shoulders.

But what if the decision is mission-critical—a question of conscience?

Beginning at s. 1776, the Catechism teaches us about moral conscience: what our conscience is, how it’s formed, how it helps us reach decisions. The Church recognizes that sometimes making the right choice is difficult but we “must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law” (s. 1787).

That may feel like a lot of pressure to choose well, but the Catechism goes on to offer this observation:

To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts (s. 1788).

Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it (s. 1806).

In an age that places a high value on independence, many of us make decisions based on our experience and the virtue of prudence, but we don’t necessarily bring others’ advice and the help of the Holy Spirit into the process.

I pray that we would be willing to benefit from the wisdom of the people God has brought into our lives and to ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we’d be better able to make good decisions.

Holy Spirit…Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God…Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual development…Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions…(from “Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit” by St. Alphonsus Liguori, quoted in The Confirmed Catholic’s Companion: A Guide to Abundant Living).

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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