Examination of Conscience



Somebody once described sin as “the abuse of a gift” so maybe that’s a good place to start with any examination of conscience.

What are the gifts in my life?
Who are the gifts in my life?

Have I used or abused them in any way?

We might think of work, health, finances, place and, insofar as we recognise these as gifts, spend sometime thinking about what we’ve done with them in recent months.  If I have a job, for example, am I giving it my best?  Do I take shortcuts?  Am I trustworthy in my work?  Do I treat other staff, either senior or junior to me with respect?  Regarding money etc, do I use it well or am I wasteful in any way?  Am I generous or mean with what I have?

The idea is to reflect on life and see how it’s going.  There is not really need to draw up a huge “shopping list” of wrongdoing but rather and honest appraisal of how things are going.

Regarding people, family, friends and society in general – how am I relating to and with people?  Do I seek to take advantage of others?  Have I led them astray in any way?  Have I been loyal to friendships and relationships, especially marriage and family commitments?

Think of Faith – of baptism and other sacraments celebrated and, in seeing these as God’s Gifts to us, ask how they are being used?  Have they been forgotten or shelved?  Did we light a lamp only to put it under a tub?  

Think about the Ten Commandments and see how things are going there?  Have there been lapses or more serious flaws?  If so, recognise and identify these and seek to put them to rest through a genuine sense of remorse and a whole-hearted desire to do better.

Be honest and say what needs to be said – address what needs addressing and then know fully the relief of honestly seeking to leave mistakes behind and the peace of mind that comes from wanting to make amends and seeking to do better …..

Remember the “Prodigal Son” and how he reflected on where he had gone astray and made his mind up to “return” to his father …