Examination of Conscience

The Examination of Conscience is primarily used to help prepare us for the sacrament of confession. I can’t begin to emphasize the importance of this sacrament. If I tried to explain it’s importance and value, it would take more pages than what most people would be willing to read in one sitting. For more on the subject, I would recommend 7 Secrets of Confessions by Vinny Flynn or Confession is the Place of Victory with Fr. Mike Schmitz.

This article is about the power of using the Examine of Conscience as a powerful prayer every day. Not all of us are able to attend a confessional at the end of a rough day on a random Tuesday night. But there is a power in searching ourselves at the end of the day as though we are preparing ourselves for the sacrament of confession.

While using the Examine of Conscience, we ask ourselves, did I strive to find God today? Was I an example of the LORD’s love today? Did I even talk to God today? This will help us better ground ourselves in God’s presence that can be found throughout our days and prepare ourselves for the next day to be better than we may have today. 

My favorite Examination is one called BAKER. Much like a baker prepares the dough to make bread, we should prepare our hearts for the Eucharist by asking ourselves who to be the Catholic Son or Daughter of Christ that we are called to be. Here is the breakdown:

Blessings: take the time to thank God for the gift of life. To thank him for the blessings of today. What made you smile or experience His presence throughout the day?

Ask: call upon the Holy Spirit to show you how you could have done better. Where did you fall throughout the day. Did you say or do something that was less than Christian?

Kill: Acknowledgment that these are the sins that killed Jesus, that nailed Him to the Cross. Pray for each of these shortcomings and the people you may have hurt. 

Embrace: Ask for the LORD to embrace you and give you strength for the next day to do better. This is also the time to embrace your own cross or struggles. If you keep coming back to a particular sin (anger, gossip, masturbation) ask God to give you the strength to overcome that fault. 

Resolve: ask how you can do better tomorrow. Are there things that you should resolve from today? Could you apologize to someone or treat them with more kindness tomorrow?

If some of these sins are particularly overwhelming, seek the LORD through the sacrament of confession. Though the church asks us to go at least once a year, we are called to do more and to be more. Don’t be afraid to write them down and bring them to Him in the confessional. 

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