You are on page 1of 5

Salvador, Richard Aldwin Te, Margaret Louise A55 TREDTWO

John Burtkenley Ong & Conscience


John Burtkenley Ong: a man for others It is in giving, in losing for others that we actually receive, that we actually find ourselves, that we actually become more human, more alive. - an excerpt from Johns letter to his batchmates During his early adolescence days, he had won the Xavier award and had earned a degree that relates to Physics. Also, he went for a retreat in Mindoro to find out what lays behind the question: "What am I going to do now?" Unfortunately, he failed. However, he never gave it up. Burtkenley entered the service institution in Ateneo and was sent to the Mangyan community. Sadness came into him as he saw the current state of the villagers and the lowlanders in Mount Halcon. With this, he accepted a challenge a challenge to stay and share to the tribesmen the skills he possesses. John taught them the basic skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. John Ong said, "there is joy in giving, but if the fulfillment centers on us, then it becomes a psychological dope, a sort of egoistic venture." Because of poverty, he was able to perceive and witness the power of sharing. With his adventure from the said community, he was able to experience and learn how to love and to serve. Conscience: an idea that springs into many standpoints, and a conception difficult to explain and understand. It comes up in almost all matters. Whether cheating on a pass or fail occurrence, having second thoughts on giving alms, or ending someones life as unwanted pregnancy ensues, conscience is present. No matter on which stage of life one currently is, he or she does struggle over deciding on which option to choose and on which side conscience more favors on. Indeed, conscience functions as a capacity for making such judgment. But what does it really define? What does it ask and demand from us?

Before passing to a deeper notion of moral conscience, separation of the perception of superego and conscience itself must first be concluded. There has been a common error between the said topic perceptions. As to what superego is, it is a measure and regulation of behaviors based on the fear of rejection. It looks to an authority, acting out of obligations. Although superego basically stands a source of suppression and control, it still has a positive purpose in building our identities. The moral conscience, on the other hand, exercises a freedom with responsibility a freedom of doing what one desires with standards and principles. Moreover, it serves as a response to the invitation of promising oneself with values. To further simplify what has been mentioned, superego serves the shoulds and have-tos of life, while moral conscience attends to the wants. It both assists as a mixture in situations of deciding. Previous theological understandings of conscience were further debated of. The contemporary view of the church by conscience is an instrument to make one stay for obedience, for deference is the very solemnity of a man. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man, the modern church claims. By contrast, Dignitatis Humanae (DH), instills that one is not to be forced to act in a method opposing his conscience. Further more, three dimensions of conscience were distinguished: capacity, process and judgment. Everyone in proper and controlled behavior has a capacity to discern what is right from wrong. It can be seen within human nature. It does not mean, however, that conscience solely determines what is good from evil. Instead, it serves as learning, a reflective judgment, a boundary with integrity, and an objective demand of morality. This is the practical judgment that answers what conscience asks us to fulfill and what moral truth demands; the judgment that says let conscience serves a guide; the judgment that performs conviction. A process of discernment conscience. The requisition to go after conscience presumes the appropriate development of conscience itself. In this part, we are to discuss the second dimension: process. Before making decisions, one ought to consider examining or consulting the traditional springs of wisdom. With this, it has come to us, humans, that conferring and analyzing to the

established experiences of others and oneself has become a better way to reach success. As Christians, meanwhile, makes a turn to the testimonies, words and deeds, convictions, and teachings of the scriptures. Lastly, Roman Catholics are projected to pay respect and attention to the ethical directions of magisterium, the philosophy office of popes and bishops. This teaching office, which is believed to have the guidance of promise of the Spirit, is stimulated with the duty of further interpreting and familiarizing the moral truth and natural law to modern minds. Catholics are expected to contemplate moral regulation in making moral choices. The proper formation of conscience requires a virtuous character and a wholesome choice. The progress of building a well-defined conscience does not end on which option is right, but also includes the broader quality of a persons moral identity. In life, who, how, and what person has we become are essential. With one missing, our character has not been in a firm foundation. To form a good character, we avoid hesitations and disputes. To form a good character, we act the same with the spirit of the persons of good examples. With a honorable character and a righteous choice comes with a better judgment. A mature conscience takes responsibility to form and to judge; a mature conscience is with conversation with many, but decides for oneself. Moreover, it is based on how one chooses to remark and recognize oneself within the context of honesty. We build our identity, thus have the choice to commit freedom, and not submit into it. Who, by then, can make moral decisions of conscience? To be able to act based on a conscience, one must have both the experience and the knowledge to reason out, to consider, to limit, to appreciate, to gratify, to reflect, to appreciate, to act with values, to explore, to judge, and to live. With these, one would be able to reach a goal of self-consciousness. As Christians, our freedom is closely related to God. Our independence to choose has a wide area to cover, but must be within the principle of nature and nurture. As to what has been mentioned, if we are beyond freedom, we are beyond

morality. Therefore, living well that sets limits comes with responsibility and virtuosity. One that acts within a moral conscience is he who wants to do what we ought to do for it is the right thing to do. The first factor of becoming a man with conscience, knowledge, is to influence behavior to the extent of persuading our response with certain situations. Another factor is how we feel or what is called to be emotions. The capacity to involve an emotion, just to how morality is born, is mentioned to be partially dependent on genetics and environment. Without the yearning and virtue to do good will eventually result to nothing. Therefore, conscience is a process to build. It does not quickly provide a man a definite character. Instead, it starts from the basic of distinguishing what good from evil is. Instilling conscience throughout ones life is indeed a commitment to morality and judgment of truth. It is the line where God and we meets. It is where er build our foundation. It is where we live.

*Sources: 1. Xavier Kuangchi Awardee: John Burtkenley T. Ong '86. (2007). Xavier School Luceat Lux. Available online: http://web.xs.edu.ph/issues0607/2007%20%20March%2015/Alumni/XavierKuangchiAwardeeJohnBurtkenleyT.Ong86.php 2. Hidalgo, A. & Otamendi, A. (2008). Profiles encourage: ordinary Filipinos making an extraordinary difference. Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil Publishing Incorporation. 3. Hoose, B. (1998). Christian ethics: an introduction. London, New York: Continuum.