Examination of conscience is a daily task. Book-keeping is never neglected by anyone in business.
And is there any business worth more than the business of eternal life?
~St. Josemaria Escriva
The examination of conscience is a diligent search for the sins committed since the last good confession.
The examination of conscience is made by carefully calling to mind before God all the sins committed but not confessed, in thought, word, deed and omission, against the Commandments of God and the Church, and against the duties of our state.
We should also examine ourselves on our bad habits and on the occasions of sin. In our examination, we should also try to discover the number of our mortal sins, venial sins and acts of negligence should also be noted.
More or less time should be spent in the examination of conscience according to the needs of each case, that is, according to the number or kind of sins that burden the conscience and according to the time that has elapsed since the last good confession.
The examination of conscience is rendered easy by making an examination of conscience every evening upon the actions of the day.
This practice should not only be done when we need to go to confession, it is advised that we take account of our deeds daily.
The general examination implies defence. The particular, attack. The first is your armour. The second, your sword.
How to make an Examination of Conscience
This could be done in the Church or in any quiet place.
- In the beginning, say a short prayer, ask for light to see your soul as it truly is. Keep on asking, until the root is laid bare and you can get at it with your battle-axe, the particular examination.Your particular examination should be directed towards the acquisition of a definite virtue or the rooting out of your predominant defect.
‘He who is faithful in little things is faithful also in big things.’ Words from Saint Luke that show you — examine yourself — why you have so often gone astray.
- Meditate on the dealings of your day.Going through each of the ten commandments thoughtfully also help remember the sins committed each day.
- React. Listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you: ‘If it were an enemy who insulted me, I could put up with that. But you… tu vero homo unanimis, dux meus, et notus meus, — you, my friend, my apostle, who sit at my table and take sweet food with me!
Always end your examination with an act of Love — of Love-sorrow: for yourself, for all the sins of men. And consider the fatherly care of God in removing the obstacles in your way lest you stumble.