A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Which way do I go?

In today's Gospel (Matthew 1:18-25), we have a man confronted with a difficult decision and every alternative appears to be some degree of cooperation with evil.

One choice requires the brutal death of a young girl.

A second choice involves him getting in bed with an evildoer.

The only other alternative is to hush everything up with a quickie divorce and walk away, hoping that no one ever finds out.

He decides to take the quickie divorce. It appears the lesser evil.

But then he receives a new insight: a grace of God and word of knowledge that puts everything in its proper light.

When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

We ourselves are often confronted with difficult moral choices.

Sometimes we feel as if we are choosing between the lesser of two evils.

Sadly, many of us are ill equipped for such choices. Some of us have had little formal education in moral concepts since Sunday school or CCD and now we face adult problems with the understanding of a 12 year old (and sometimes even that is fuzzy).

Cooperation with evil is one of the most common moral problems in our world, but it is very doubtful that we heard or retained anything in Sunday school about the difference between formal cooperation with evil and material cooperation, let alone the distinction between direct material cooperation and remote material cooperation.

Then questions inevitably arise: How remote is remote? If I cooperate materially, am I just rationalizing my involvement? If I do not cooperate, am I rationalizing my inaction or inattention to my duties?

What we need to do, of course, is learn continually: this includes studying the word of God, the teaching of the Church, and trustworthy texts on moral theology.

It also means seeking greater knowledge, wisdom, and grace from the Lord through our life of prayer.

We may not see the angel of the Lord with our waking eyes or even in our dreams, as St. Joseph did, but if we are diligent in using the minds and the learning tools God has given us and if we are even more diligent in deepening our relationship with the Lord in prayer, word and Sacrament, by God's grace we will be able to discern always the right path: not merely flipping a coin between two evils, but walking strongly, humbly, and faithfully in the path the Lord has laid out for us and through which he leads us to everlasting life in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.