Part 1 I began to address the question, "How do I know if it is God speaking to me, or if it is all in my head?", touching on how and where He speaks, and how conscience is the messenger helping to interpret His voice for us.
But for the Christian, conscience needs to be trained. It requires proper formation. A properly formed conscience helps us to make choices based on reason, but in conformity with the Will of God.
When I was in the grocery business, we trained our cashiers how to detect counterfeit money. To detect counterfeit bills, one does not study the counterfeit. One studies the real bill, seeks to learn all that is possible about what a real bill looks like. Properly trained to recognize the real bill, the one with true value, the cashier would be better equipped to recognize the worthless counterfeit bill.
It is also important to note that as cashiers became better equipped to recognize truth over counterfeit, the counterfeiters found better ways to trick them. This brought on changes in the way money is printed; with special portraits, bands and shifting ink, among others. Cashiers are now also given special pens to aid them in this effort. Even as they become more and more equipped, given more and more tools to work with, the counterfeiters continue to scheme.
And so it is today, that we Christians have plenty of "tools" and "aids" at our disposal; much more so than our parents and grandparents and so on. However, the "counterfeiters", the ones who seek to trick us into accepting false reason, are very good at their game. More importantly, if we become lazy and do not use the tools at our disposal, we will most certainly be duped!
So it is clear to see, that the formation of the Christian conscience is a life long process. We have to work at it and stay vigilant against the tactics of the enemies of faith. Like counterfeiters, they seek to distort true faith, masking their lies with half truths.
Thanks be to God! We have lots of tools. We have prayer, which teaches us to place our trust in God and to cooperate with His Will. We have the great gift of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures and authentic blueprint of faith. We have the Church through which we exercise our faith, are renewed and refreshed by the Sacraments and by which we join our prayer to the Body of Christ, whose head is Jesus in Whom all Truth resides.
Next time; more about avoiding counterfeit conscience and erroneous judgement.