Lent is a great time to take a self-inventory, to measure myself against God's Word and to confess my sins. There are many "examinations of conscience" available online. This is the one included in the handout for adults in my parish who are preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. An exercise like this can offer a great Lenten pause for prayer...
- Do I love God? Do I worship God? Do I worship false gods (work, money, position, prestige, superstition, possessions?) by giving them more attention than I give to God Do I pray every day? Do I pray on Sundays by participating at Mass? Do I make an effort to grow in faith and in knowledge of my Church and its teachings? Do I thank God for his gifts to me? Am I careful not to use the name of God and the name of Jesus carelessly? Do I respect and reverence God as Lord of my life?
- Do I love others? At home? At work? In my neighborhood? At school? Have I abused anyone - physically or emotionally? Do I speak unkindly to others - or about others? Do I give my parents the respect they deserve? Am I a good and faithful parent? Am I good to my brothers and sisters? Am I faithful to my friends? Am I a good neighbor? Am I prejudiced? Do I reach out generously to the poor? Do I work for justice? Do I share my belongings with friends and family members? Do I try to care for the needs of others before I taking care of my own? Do I invite other people into my group of friends? Do I exclude other people from my circle of friends? Do I reach out to those who are lonely?
- Have I stolen? Have I taken what does not belong to me? Have I taken anything I have not paid for? Am I honest in financial and business matters? Do I turn in a full day's work for my wages? Have I damaged what belongs to others? Am I envious or jealous of what other people have? Am I greedy or selfish? Do I place too much importance on material goods? Do I trust that God will provide what I truly need?
- Do I tell the truth? Do I lie? Am I honest with God? Am I honest with my family? Am I honest with my employers? with those with whom I do business? with my teachers? with my classmates? with my friends? Am I honest with myself? Am I fair in my dealings with others? Do I object to injustice when I see it and work to remedy it? Do I cheat? Do I take credit for work that’s not mine? Do I gossip about others? Do I contribute to tearing down the reputations of other people? Do I forgive those who have hurt me? Do I ask forgiveness of those whom I have hurt? Do I hold grudges or resentments?
- Do I respect and reverence life in all its shapes and forms? Do I respect creation and the environment? Have I taken care of and respected the gift of my body? Have I abused my body and my mind with drugs or alcohol? Have I respected the gift of sexuality that God has given me? Have I respected the sexuality of other persons (my spouse, girl friend/boy friend, others)? If I’m married, have I been faithful to my spouse in thought, word and deed? Have I taken advantage of another person for my own pleasure? Do I take part in entertainment, Internet sites, conversations or jokes of an inappropriate nature?
- Have I been faithful to my conscience? Have I given in to the pressure of those around me to things I know are wrong? Have I encouraged others to participate in wrongdoing?
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