Category Archives: Examination of Conscience

The Examination of Conscience helps us to get rid of our vices and to advance in all virtues

The Examination of Conscience helps us to get rid of our vices and to advance in all virtues

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

The Examination of Conscience helps us to get rid of our vices and to advance in all virtues

St. Basil, after he had given several spiritual advices to his religious, concludes all by earnestly recommending to them the making their examen of conscience every night before they went to bed. This great saint judged this practice sufficient to keep them in the observance of all other things, which he had recommended them. I intend, therefore, to finish this treatise in the same manner, by recommending to all persons to apply themselves seriously to this examen of conscience, since, by the grace of God, it is sufficient to enable us to put in practice all other spiritual advices, and to repair all our defects. If you relax and grow tepid in your prayer; if you are become negligent in what regards obedience; if you give yourself too great a freedom of speech; if you begin to take too many liberties; this examen of conscience will easily check the progress of these evils, and will apply a speedy remedy unto them. Whoever takes care daily to make this examen of conscience well, may be assured that he carries with him a director, a master of novices, and a superior that continually requires of him an account of what state and condition his soul is in – who instructs him in what he is to do, and reprehends him when he is faulty in anything. You will not remain long in your ill habits, says Father Avila, if you are diligent in making your examen after this manner, in exacting an account of your behaviour, in reprehending yourself for your faults; but if you always persevere in them, and at the end of many days, yea at the end of many years, you find yourself very little or not at all mortified, but your passions as lively, strong, and violent as ever they were; it is because you have not made use of these remedies given for this end.

For if you had undertaken to correct any ill habit, or to acquire any particular virtue, and for this end had endeavoured in your examination of conscience, to renew the purpose and resolution of amendment, and compared the faults of one day with those of another, and those of each week with those of the week before, and made acts of confusion and sorrow, when you found yourself faulty, and lastly implored God’s and the saints’ assistance, to be able to correct your faults, it would be impossible you should not, after so long a time, have gained a perfect victory over yourself in what you aimed at. But if we make our examens negligently and out of custom, without having any true sorrow for our faults or making any firm purpose to amend them, this is no true examen, but only a piece of formality and a mere empty ceremony that signifies nothing at all. Hence it happens, that after many years we retain the same defects and the same vicious inclinations; if we were subject to pride and vanity, we are so still; if we were impatient and choleric, we are still the same; if we were easily provoked to give sharp and mortifying language, we give the same still; and, in fine, we are as irregular as ever, as much addicted to our own will, and as much attached to our own ease and convenience.

We may also easily perceive, by what has been said, how little those persons are to be excused who cast the fault of their irregular life upon their natural temper and constitution, or inclination; for on the contrary, they deserve a more severe check than others, because knowing to what sins the viciousness of their nature inclines them, and being obliged to fortify themselves against this weakness they find in their nature, the cause why the devil gets more free and easy entrance into their souls; yet neglecting this, after many years, they are as irregular, and as little masters of themselves as they were in the beginning. Let all, therefore, who seriously resolve to serve God (for here we speak as well to secular as religious persons) reflect upon themselves, and let them begin again seriously to apply themselves anew, and to endeavour, for the time to come, to make their examen of conscience so well that the fruit they will reap from it may be visible to all. We are men, and consequently have our defects, and shall have them as long as we live; but, notwithstanding we must endeavour to gain three things by the help of our examen. The first is, that if hitherto we have had a great many faults, we should henceforward have fewer. The second, if hitherto they were great, they must in future be smaller. The third, that we do not relapse daily into the same faults; because that is a mark of great want of application and of negligence. Let us, therefore, make good use of so profitable a means, that God has vouchsafed to bestow upon us; let us have a firm confidence, that hereby He will lead us to that height of perfection to which by the assistance of His grace we aspire (Rodriguez, Vol I, Seventh Treatise, Chap. XI).

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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I commend to you devotion in helping your neighbor’s soul in such a manner, that you always have a care of your own, to preserve and perfect it in every kind of virtue to the glory of the Lord our God.St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 151.

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March Devotion: St. Joseph

Virtue to practice: Mortification

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so031113_0159_Novenainhon1.jpg prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

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