Friday, August 2, 2013

A Daily Examination of Conscience: What Is It Exactly?

A simple examination of conscience helps build the moral life of a Catholic. It guides a Catholic towards holiness and sainthood. Like taking vitamins or brushing your teeth, it should be done daily!
Find a set time where you will have anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes of quiet and solitude. If possible, also find a specific location. This may be 10 minutes of quiet on your couch or it might be 20 minutes in a prayer corner on a prie dieu. No matter what, when you see this as a sacred responsibility, finding those few minutes each day will be easy.
An Examination of Conscience is about reviewing your day and seeing it through the eyes of Christ. It is about offering it up for objective examination where the fruit will be your spiritual growth and maturity. 
Have a number of questions to get yourself started but be willing to allow the Lord to speak to you and guide where the time goes. To create a list of questions, consider your daily life in a general sense and your vocation. For instance, a full-time mother may have a different set of questions than a woman who has no children. Ultimately your questions are about how you reacted in different circumstances. These aren’t meant to beat yourself up about, they are meant to help you grow as a disciple of Christ.
Begin with a short prayer. Try something like this:
"Father, I would like to spend a few minutes with you looking at my day. I want to live more fully in your light and love and ask that you help me do this so that my life is pleasing to you and serves you. I am grateful for the forgiveness you have given me in your son and desire to grow in holiness."
Here are some sample Examination of Conscience questions for a wife and mother of teenagers who works part-time outside of the home:
  • How did I see God today in my co-workers?
    • Did I respond to them as I should have?
    • If I didn’t, why not? (you can ask God to help you with this if it is something you find yourself doing a lot)
  • In what ways did I reflect that I am a beloved daughter of Christ today?
    • If I didn’t, why didn’t I? (does God need to help me accept his love and forgiveness?)
    • If I did, how did that deepen my own relationship with Christ?
  • Did I find time to pray today?
    • If not, what stopped me? Was my time well spent today?
    • If I did, how did I grow with God as a result of that prayer time?
  • Did I find time to read today’s Gospel?
    • If not, what stopped me? Was my time well spent today?
    • If I did, how did I grow with God as a result of that time in the Word?
  • Did I lovingly attend to the duties of my vocation?
    • If not…
    • If so…
  • How will I invite God into my day tomorrow?
 A true Examination of Conscience is always objective. It doesn’t encourage you to determine truths based upon your own feelings, rather it asks you to see your day through the life and teachings of Christ so that you can grown into the sainthood to which we are all invited.
Cheryl Dickow

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