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Preservation of a clear conscience

"Guard your heart more than anything you treasure, for it is the source of life" (Proverbs 4:23). With these words the Holy Scripture calls us to preserve our moral cleanliness. But what hope can a sinner have with an unclean conscience? Is he forever doomed? Fortunately not! In contrast to other religions, the great privilege offered by the Christian faith is the fact that it opens a path and gives the means for a complete cleansing of conscience. This path exists in the repentanceof one's sins, and in a sincere desire to turn life around for the better. God forgives us because of His Only Begotten Son, Who on the cross brought cleansing sacrifice for our sins. In the sacrament of Baptism, and then in the sacraments of Confession and Communion, God cleanses man's conscience "from evil doing" (Heb. 9:14). That is why the Church places such great significance on these sacraments.

Moreover, the Church of Christ, through its teaching and the grace of the Holy Spirit abiding in her, enables the faithful to perfect themselves morally and make their conscience more discerning and sensitive. This is one of the high goals of our Christian life, as Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are those whose hearts are pure; they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). Through a clear conscience, as through a clear crystal, God's light enters our soul and permeates its every corner. As long as this light remains in us, it guides our thoughts, elevates our feelings, strengthens our will, and helps us in every good undertaking. Through this blessed illumination, many Christians become instruments of God's providence. When this happens, a Christian not only enjoys spiritual blessings, but also becomes an instrument of salvation to others. Church history illustrates this with innumerable examples in the lives of its Saints like Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt, Elder Ambrosy of Optina, Saints Herman and Innocent of Alaska, Blessed Xenia of Petersburg, Archbishop John of San Francisco [Maximovich], and others who saved so many souls.

In conclusion, a clear conscience is a well-spring of all Divine blessings. People with clean hearts enjoy inner peace; they are gentle and benevolent. It seems that already in this temporary life, filled with trials and turmoil, God gives them a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven. As Saint John Chrysostom puts it: "Not fame and wealth, not great power and physical strength, not a magnificent table and elegant clothing, not any other human advantage can bring true happiness. This comes only from spiritual health and a clear conscience."

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