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Sep 27th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. The following of Christ and self-knowledge. The examination of conscience.
The following of Christ and self-knowledge. The examination of conscience. PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 08 September 2007 09:37

In the Gospel of the Mass our Lord speaks to us of the requirements for following him, and since He has called each one of us, we must be attentive. He gives us a warning: For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him . . .

Or what king going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? (Luke 14:28-32). When a person accepts a great undertaking, he needs to make an appraisal of the entire situation. He must consider various possibilities and look for the opportune means for bringing the work to a successful completion. The supreme undertaking which we are called to as disciples of Christ is that of following him faithfully in the midst of our daily activities. To do this and to do it well, we must know what means are available to us, and also how to use them. We have to be aware of what is lacking in order to ask our Lord for it with confidence. We need to put effort as well into removing obstacles. This is the purpose of the examination of conscience. If we do it well, in depth, it will help us to know the truth with regard to our own life. Knowledge of self is the first step the soul must take in order to arrive at the knowledge of God (St John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 4, 1).

Good businessmen are in the habit of drawing up a balance-sheet on a daily basis. They examine profit and loss, and are concerned to know where improvements can be made. They try to detect quickly anything harmful and to apply a remedy before greater harm is done to their business. Our great business, a daily one, is corresponding to our Lord’s call. There is nothing of more importance to us or more truly in our best interest than coming closer to Christ.

In the examination of conscience, we take a look at our behaviour, our daily response to his call, having in mind what God wants of us. We are brought to ask for forgiveness and to make frequent new beginnings. The examination of conscience is the preparatory step and the daily point of departure which will enable us to become more fervently ablaze with a love of God which may be seen in deeds of self-giving (A. del Portillo, Pastoral Letter, 8 December 1976, 8). Making the effort to carry out our examination in depth will make it difficult for the germs of lukewarmness to take root in our souls, and will facilitate keeping our distance from occasions of sin.

If we truly intend to acquire cleanness of heart, which will bring us to see God in everything we need to take the daily examination of our soul very seriously. Whoever settles for a routine and superficial glance ends up slipping back ward along an inclined plane of negligence and spiritual laziness, leading him towards lukewarmness, that near sightedness of soul which does not distinguish between good and evil, between what proceeds from God and what proceeds from our own passions or from the devil (ibidem).

It is love which moves us to make the examination of conscience and which gives a particular keenness to the soul for detecting those aspects of our behaviour which are not pleasing to God. Let us make the resolution - one which we will try to keep every day of our life - of making the examination of conscience conscientiously (ibidem). We will see perhaps very quickly, how great a help it will be for us in making our way along the road which leads to Christ.

With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or

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Last Updated on Saturday, 08 September 2007 09:52

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