There is nothing like the freedom of a clear conscience. It is an incredible gift when we have come to the place where we have examined our lives and realized that we have honestly pursued the good life in accord with the dictates of God. Of course, accompanying such a realization is a deep awareness that in order to walk this path, we must receive incredible graces from God. In many ways, we come to realize that such stillness has always been a gratuitous gift of the Lord, and thus we have not earned it on our own merits.
While physical health is good and psychological well being is an important part of human flourishing, we also must recognize that our concrete actions have effects both for others and for our interior life. Evil and vicious actions contain within themselves intrinsic disorders which have lingering effects in the human person. Thus the temporal punishment for sin is not an external attribute that God imposes upon us arbitrarily, but rather within evil actions there is a fundamental disharmony which robs us of our stillness.
Along these lines, our spirituality cannot be divorced from concrete moral action and the natural law. Human behavior is governed by principles and norms which are not grounded in human consensus, but rather are grounded in a fundamental and intuitive grasp of reality whereby the individual is awakened to truth, goodness, and beauty. Thus natural law is nothing short of a participation in the eternal wisdom of the Father, accessible through creation, but revealed in all its depths in the person of Jesus Christ.
The more our lives conform to the eternal wisdom of God, the more we can proclaim the words of Psalm 119: “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the Lord.” Such words are the fruit of a heart that has learned to walk in the presence of the Lord and to allow the Holy Spirit to inform his or her’s actions. Such a person obeys the law and the precepts of the Lord, but is also guided by the greater gift of God’s grace and promptings of the Spirit.
In this way, we must recognize that while spiritual disciplines are essential, there is kind of spiritual harmony that only comes through virtuous and holy actions. Our lives will only come to participate in the freedom of Jesus Christ to the extent in which we avoid sin and embrace virtuous and wholesome living. The righteous person is the one who has responded to God’s initiative and whose actions are the fruit of receiving the glory of being an adopted child of God. Such a person has received the gift of a clear conscience.