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Morality and the Piano of Life

The Pharisee who went up to the temple to pray has millions of lineal descendants in this generation who say, “I have no need of a code of a creed.” In this they are like the five-year-old child playing the piano who makes up the notes as he goes along; having no standard, he can never be reproached with hitting a “wrong note.” By professing no ideal in morality, these nice people can never be accused of not living up to their creed. This is the great advantage that they have over the Christians—whose creed is so lofty that they can often and truly be accused of failing to meet its demands.

—From Peace of Soul by Venerable Fulton Sheen, Ch. 5: Morbidity and the Denial of Guilt

We often justify ourselves by saying that we are following our consciences, when we are only following our desires. We fit a creed to the way we live, rather than the way we live to a creed; we suit religion to our actions, rather than actions to religion. We try to keep religion on a speculative basis in order to avoid moral reproaches on our conduct  We sit at the piano of life and insist that every note we strike is right—because we struck it.

—From Peace of Soul by Venerable Fulton Sheen, Ch. 6: Examination of Conscience

Peace of Soul


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