My oldest daughter, Anna (30 years old), has been married for nine years. She and her husband, Josh, have four children, all of whom are under the age of eight. Anna recently sent an email to everyone in our family with a suggestion:
I just started spiritual direction and we talked about making a daily examination of conscience, which I am ashamed to say I don’t usually do. . . yeah, yeah, I think sometimes about what I didn’t do right during the day, but I have never had an actual written or typed sheet of particular sins that I struggle with and that I go over every night. I have been working on formulating my own personal examination for the past couple of days and found this examination very helpful: http://www.ewtn.com/library/spirit/examcons.txt.
If you are anything like me, which most of you probably are very grateful that you aren’t, you go to confession, look over the examination of conscience there, and feel fairly good about yourself. . . I mean, how many of us have had an abortion, stolen something, or committed adultery since our last confession? But when I read this examination, I felt a little bit differently about myself, and there were several times I thought, “Oh, shoot . . . I’m not quite as great as I thought I was.” Anyway, look over the examination and let me know what you think. I think it is one of the best I have ever come across. By the way, it’s by Father Hardon.
Go to the link and scroll about halfway down until you read the questions under “FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.” It is an examination of the three theological virtues.
Love you and can’t wait to see everyone next month! [Over Thanksgiving weekend when everyone will be in town.]
During the 1990s, I attended a silent men’s retreat every year in Chicago with about 70 other Catholic businessmen. The retreat master each year was Fr. John A. Hardon, a Jesuit priest and theologian. During each retreat, Fr. Hardon gave ten different one-hour talks to the men. Every year, he emphasized the importance of a daily examination of conscience, which he described as a “daily inventory of your moral conduct.”
Fr. Hardon taught that the daily examination of conscience was a critical component of spiritual growth and holiness. He emphasized the importance of setting aside time each day to make an assessment of whether we are living up to the expectations of our Creator.
A daily examination of conscience is a mini-meditation that can be performed in as little as five minutes. The meditation itself consists of a simple reflection on whether we have been using our time to appropriately apply and respond to God’s will.
I would encourage you to print the complete examination from the website Anna recommended and work it into your daily schedule. For a basic list of examination questions, see below.
If a busy mother of four young children can carve out the time to perform a daily examination of conscience, you and I can surely find the time to do the same.
Thanks for sharing, Anna.