Someone recently made a claim that many people act out of feelings instead of the truth.
Feelings are, of course, real. We need to be able to name our feelings. Feelings can tell us a lot about ourselves.
However, feelings are not always a true indicator of the fuller truth.
e.g. one has the ‘flu and has no energy and is not experiencing warm feelings for their loved ones. It does not mean that they don’t love them anymore! They just have the ‘flu and are devoid of energy!! This is also true in matters of faith, the easy way is not necessarily the right way. Jesus spoke about the narrow road that leads to life, and the wide road that leads to perdition.
When it comes to matters of faith for Christians, our behaviour is guided by our beliefs. Our beliefs are guided by the Teachings of Christ and His Church.
We can react in a number of ways.
Some are guided just by feelings.
There are some who make themselves the sole determinator or decider of what is right and wrong.
There are others who, like the Pharisees, have a very literal and narrow understanding of the teachings of Christ and the Church.
There are some who have a little knowledge of the teachings and are simplistic in their understanding.
There are others who try to make themselves as informed as possible. They seek advice from knowledgeable and wise persons. They reflect and act in faith, not just when it is easy to do so, but even at times it is hard to do so.
In faith matters, feelings and knowledge go together. I cannot just act out of my feelings, I cannot be the one who determines what is right and not right, just on my own.
Yes, in the end I need to make a decision of conscience. If I am to be integral and faithful it needs to be an informed conscience. This is where the Spirit-guided wisdom of the Church is a great gift given to us by God.
There are certain situations where it is hard to make a decision because of the complexity of the situation. A person can be faced with a dilemma where whatever choice they make, there is something wrong or not right about it. ‘What is the greater good, the best choice, what is God saying to me?’
Again, spiritual direction or wise and knowledgeable faith companions can be of great help in guiding one to a good decision of conscience.
Some think that they know Church teachings, but have a very narrow, sometimes fundamentalist understanding. The Pharisees did this and in the process rejected Jesus.
Church law cannot always be interpreted simplistically and out of context.
It is good to remember that the greatest truth is that God is love, and this guides all that we do as Christians.
I mean love, not just sentimentality, true love takes effort and sacrifice, as Jesus taught us.