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Father Zimmer’s homily from the first Sunday of Lent featured another Examination of Conscience to add to our collection:

According to the testimony of sacred scripture, Jesus began his public ministry in the wilderness of Sinai.

Alone in the desert, he confronted Satan. And in the strength of the Spirit he rejected all his works and all his empty promises.

Each year, at the beginning of Lent, we are invited to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are challenged to confront the reality of sin in our own personal lives.

For a variety of reasons many of us find it hard to make this examination of conscience. We find it difficult to verbalize our failures before God.

And so, I invite you to sit back, close your eyes, and ponder the following questions in the quiet of your heart.

Do I recognize God’s authority over my life? Or do I follow my own agenda, fitting God in when it’s convenient?

Do my own ambitions or desires, my career, or any need for human respect control my life, rather than God’s authority and word?

Do I open myself to the love of God each day through daily prayer and scripture reading?

Do I honour God by participating in the Eucharist each Sunday?

Do I reverence God’s Name in my speech?

Do I build up or break down relationships with members of my family, close relatives, fellow workers or neighbours?

Do my words or actions reflect self-centeredness?

Am I concerned only for myself, or do I show compassion and concern in word and deed for others, especially the poor, less fortunate, sick and suffering?

Do I recognize and respond to my obligation as a Christian to be aware of injustice in society and to foster justice?

Do I allow myself to be controlled by moods at home or at work?

Am I angry, bitter, or resentful toward anyone, particularly a family member?

Do I recognize the sin in my anger or do I savour it and refuse to let it go?

Have I forgiven everyone who has injured or offended me?

Have I damaged anyone’s reputation or dignity through gossip or lies?

Do I honour my parents, showing them proper respect and obedience? Do I give proper time and attention to my spouse, my children, my brothers and sisters?

Have I been cynical or disrespectful to legitimate authority?

Have I been truthful in my words as well as in my actions?

Do I give my mind over to lustful thoughts, fantasies or daydreams?

Has my conversation included obscene or off-colour language or stories?

Have I accessed pornography on the internet? Acted impurely with myself or others?

Have I respected the sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception until its natural end?

Have I abused my body with drugs or alcohol?

Have I participated in the occult, fortune telling, palm reading, astrology or other superstitious activities?

Are there any other areas in which the Holy Spirit is leading me toward repentance…for example, past sins forgotten or deliberately covered over, troubling hurts that need healing or special areas of difficulty?

Together we have looked into our hearts. And identified our sins. During Lent there are many opportunities available for Confession. Jesus waits for us with open arms.

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Just a short note to say that the Lenten Resources page is back up! Please let me know if you have any other resources that might help others in their Lenten journey. Praying that you and your family have a blessed Lent.

From our perennial favourite, St. Francis de Sales:

As to the examination of conscience, which we all should make before going to bed, you know the rules:

  1. Thank God for having preserved you through the day past.
  2. Examine how you have conducted yourself through the day, in order to which recall where and with whom you have been, and what you have done.
  3. If you have done anything good, offer thanks to God; if you have done amiss in thought, word, or deed, ask forgiveness of His Divine Majesty, resolving to confess the fault when opportunity offers, and to be diligent in doing better.
  4. Then commend your body and soul, the Church, your relations and friends, to God. Ask that the Saints and Angels may keep watch over you, and with God’s Blessing go to the rest He has appointed for you.

– Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales


Look at that lovely, clean bathroom…

Since becoming Co-Master of My Own Domain (read: co-responsible for cleaning the bathrooms, among other things), I gained some transferable wisdom: faithfulness is a good thing. When I ignore the bathrooms until it’s time for Health Canada to shut our operation down, then cleaning them is a Big Deal. Gotta get the mask on, the strong cleaners, the rubber gloves, the elbow grease. I feel guilty and it’s generally a bad scene. But, when I stay on top of it (that is, when I make time for tending to the bathrooms weekly or sometimes daily, depending on the “adventures” that happen in there), then all that is needed is a quick and painless pass-through with a rag and some light cleaner. Not a big deal.

Clean bathrooms, clean soul
Faithfulness is a good thing. It’s much easier to stay on top of the battle to be better by frequently examining my conscience. The more often I do it, the more familiar I become with my weaknesses, with the sins that I struggle with the most, with the occasions during which I fall. Then, all that is needed is a quick and painless encounter with the merciful love of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ta-dah: good to go, equipped with the Grace of God to start again.

If it’s been a while
It’s tough to clean anything that hasn’t been tended to in a while. I find that some good music and a glass of wine helps. Not that I’ve tried those while examining my conscience, but hey, I might start. It can be humbling. It can be painful. Jesus, I haven’t examined my conscience in a while. I’m not looking forward to it. Help me do a good job. Help me be thorough. Help me do it for love of you and those you’ve put in my care.

Helping children
Children follow our lead. When they see us taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently, it can help them make it a normal part of their life, too. It also helps when we are humble and honest about our sins or mistakes. When we are merciful and gentle with them, they are able to imagine the mercy and love of God, who will always take them back, no matter what.

Online resources
The folks at Be An Amazing Catechist have shared a simple Examination of Conscience written for children. For adults, here is an old post that has two versions that are different from the usual format that is based on the Ten Commandments. A quick search with the terms “Examination of Conscience catholic” brings up a great deal of resources from online.

I found a very cool examination of conscience online a couple of days ago and I’m excited to share it with you. It was in an essay written by Fr. John Hardon, S.J. entitled Examination of Conscience (scroll down about half way). The essay itself is old and seems to be all over the internet so I may be (again) the last Catholic to have come across it. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on what exactly is so cool about it. I’ve just never seen one that was organized by the Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Love) instead of by the Ten Commandments. I think they’ll go hand in hand quite well.

Faith

  1. Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily mental prayer on the mysteries of the faith as revealed in the life of Jesus Christ?
  2. Do I make at least a short act of faith every day?
  3. Do I pray daily for an increase of faith?
  4. Do I ever tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life?
  5. Do I unnecessarily read or listen to those who oppose or belittle what I know are truths of my Catholic faith?
  6. What have I done today to externally profess my faith?
  7. Have I allowed human respect to keep me from giving expression to my faith?
  8. Do I make a serious effort to resolve difficulties that may arise about my faith?
  9. Do I ever defend my faith, prudently and charitably, when someone says something contrary to what I know is to be believed?
  10. Have I helped someone overcome a difficulty against the faith?

Hope

  1. Do I immediately say a short prayer when I find myself getting discouraged?
  2. Do I daily say a short act of hope?
  3. Do I dwell on my worries instead of dismissing them from my mind?
  4. Do I fail in the virtue of hope by my attachment to the things of this world?
  5. Do I try to see God’s providence in everything that “happens” in my life?
  6. Do I try to see everything from the viewpoint of eternity?
  7. Am I confident that, with God’s grace, I will be saved?
  8. Do I allow myself to worry about my past life and thus weaken my hope in God’s mercy?
  9. Do I try to combine every fully deliberate action with at least a momentary prayer for divine help?
  10. How often today have I complained, even internally?

Charity

  1. Have I told God today that I love Him?
  2. Do I tell Jesus that I love Him with my whole heart?
  3. Do I take the occasion to tell God that I love Him whenever I experience something I naturally dislike?
  4. Have I capitalized on the difficulties today to tell God that I love Him just because He sent me the trial or misunderstanding?
  5. Do I see God’s love for me in allowing me to prove my love for Him in the crosses He sent me today?
  6. Have I seen God’s grace to prove my love for Him in every person whom I met today?
  7. Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly about others?
  8. Have I dwelt on what I considered someone’s unkindness toward me today?
  9. Is there someone that I consciously avoid because I dislike the person?
  10. Did I try to carry on a conversation today with someone who is difficult to talk to?
  11. Have I been stubborn in asserting my own will?
  12. How thoughtful have I been today in doing some small favor for someone?
  13. Have I allowed my mood to prevent me from being thoughtful of others today?
  14. Am I given to dwelling on other people’s weaknesses or faults?
  15. Have I been cheerful today in my dealings with others?
  16. Do I control my uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind?
  17. Did I pray for others today?
  18. Have I written any letters today?
  19. Have I controlled my emotions when someone irritated me?
  20. Have I performed any sacrifice today for someone?

UPDATE:

One of our readers just sent in this Examination of Conscience and I wanted to share it with you. I will update this with its author and origins as soon as I find out.

Examination of Conscience

R: Come, Lord Jesus!

For the times that I forget that I need a Savior, and arrogantly conceive of myself as sufficient to myself, R:

For the times that I do not believe Jesus and instead give in to the lie of perceiving God the Father as being indifferent or hostile to my well-being, R:

For the times that I trust my self-pitying accusations more than the Father’s love, R:

For the times that I desecrate the presence of Christ by making my own opinions, my own criteria, or my own likes and dislikes the measure for measuring circumstances of life and other people, R:

For the times I have shunned the presence of Christ, whether it be his sacramental presence or his presence through the people he puts in my life, R:

For the times I have blasphemed the presence of Christ through using other human beings as things that I can manipulate or use for my own selfish ends, R:

For the times I have disregarded the will of Christ through abuse of those things he has given to me for the building up of his kingdom, R:

For the times that I justify my sinfulness and thus treat God’s mercy with disdain, R:

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!

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