Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Examination of Conscience

Need one?

Zenit offers one here!

Here's a sample:
If possible, prepare yourself for confession with regularity, not allowing too much time to pass. Prepare your confession in a climate of prayer, responding to these questions under the gaze of God, seeing him as the one you can go to for help to progress more quickly along the path of the Lord.

1. "You shall not have other gods besides me" (Deuteronomy 5:7). "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).

Do I love God like this? Do I give him the first place in my life? Do I eagerly reject all idols that could get between him and me, be it money, pleasure, superstition, or power? Do I listen with faith to his Word? Do I persevere in prayer?

2. "You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain" (Deuteronomy 5:11).

Do I respect the holy name of God? Do I abuse him in my references to him, offending him, or making use of him, instead of serving him? Do I bless God in each one of my actions? Do I surrender myself without reserve to his will for me, trusting entirely in him? Do I entrust myself with humility and confidence to the guidance and teaching of the pastors which the Lord has given to his Church? Do I make an effort to go deeper in and strengthen my life of faith?

3. "Take care to keep holy the Sabbath day as the Lord, your God, commanded you" (Deuteronomy 5: 12-15).

Do I make Sunday the center of my week, beginning with the most important moment, the celebration of the Eucharist? Do I use it, and the other days consecrated to the Lord, to praise and give thanks to God, to entrust myself to him and take rest in him? Do I participate faithfully and actively in the liturgy, preparing myself beforehand with prayer, and making the effort to obtain its fruits during the entire week? Do I sanctify the holy day with some act of love toward the needy?
I find examinations of conscience challenging. My scrupulocity and denial bite and claw each other over every word. I'm either the next manifestation of the Anti-Christ or the new St. Francis of Assisi. Somehow, neither of these manichean tendencies serves me well in preparing for confession.

Sitting still in the presence of God in silent prayer does. I've been attracted to contemplative prayer for a long time. Unfortunately, sinful Fool that I am, I find my consistence in prayer--including silent prayer--leaves too much to be desired. However, when I sit still, I can face God in unusual honesty. That's when I can face what I have done and what I have failed to do.

Summoning up the courage to then confess this truth in the sacrament is another story--and another post!

Does anyone else have good examples of an examination of conscience? Inquiring Fools want to know. Leave 'em in the comboxes, or email them to me.