Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison’ (Matthew 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.
~St Isaiah The Solitary (Philokalia, vol. 1, p. 22-23.)
Let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, as opposed to being focused on what others are doing. God gave each of us our own conscience to assist us on the path to spiritual freedom in Him. Through cooperation with Him, and by this gift of the Spirit, we can achieve greater and greater freedom. Like a flashlight shining upon the darkness within, we can use it to uncover deeper and deeper shadows of vice, or passions, by listening and being obedient to this great helper. Let us likewise be diligent in applying our conscience, not giving ourselves license, excuse, or even the time to dally with sin, but rather make haste, and act quickly to flee what our conscience is exposing to us as the enemies of our soul. Let us transform our conscience from an adversary into a beloved companion through its constant attention and use.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.