Friday, February 11, 2011

A Priest's Examination of Conscience from the Imitation of Christ

"St. Jerome Penitent" by Antonello da Messina

Picture source

Some good thoughts here for us to remember.

Picture source
ABOVE all, God’s priest should approach the celebration and reception of this Sacrament with the deepest humility of heart and suppliant reverence, with complete faith and the pious intention of giving honor to God.

Carefully examine your conscience, then. Cleanse and purify it to the best of your power by true contrition and humble confession, that you may have no burden, know of no remorse, and thus be free to come near. Let the memory of all your sins grieve you, and especially lament and bewail your daily transgressions. Then if time permits, confess to God in the secret depths of your heart all the miseries your passions have caused.

- You must be full of grief and regret that you are still so attached to the flesh and the world, your passions so unsubdued, your heart so full of the stirrings of evil desire;

- so unguarded in your outward senses,

- so often immersed in foolish fancies;

- so keen on what happens outside you,

- so careless of your inner life;

-so lightly given to laughter and levity,

- so hard when it comes to bewailing your sins;

- so eager for relaxation and bodily ease,

- so slothful to do penance and to arouse your zeal for good;

- so avid for the latest news, for lovely things to look at,

- so backward in welcoming humiliation and contempt;

- so anxious to have a lot of possessions,

- so mean in giving and

- so stubborn in holding on to things;

- in speech so heedless in silence so unrestrained;

- in manner so disorderly, in action so inconsiderate;

- so lavish with food, so deaf to the world of God;

- so swift to take a rest,

- so slow to be up and doing;

- so wide awake for gossip,

- so slow drowsy for holy vigils;

- so much in a hurry to be finished, so wandering in attention;

- so careless in saying your office;

- so lukewarm in saying Mass,

- so wanting in fervor at Communion;

- so easily distracted,

- so seldom completely recollected;

- so easily put out of temper,

- so ready to take umbrage;

- so ready to pass judgment,

- so harsh in rebuke;

- so cheerful when things go well with you,

- so despondent when t hey don't;

- so often making lots of good resolutions and doing so little to keep them.

When you have confessed and deplored these and other faults with sorrow and great displeasure because of your weakness, be firmly determined to amend your life day by day and to advance in goodness. Then, with complete resignation and with your entire will offer yourself upon the altar of your heart as an everlasting sacrifice to the honor of My name, by entrusting with faith both body and soul to My care, that thus you may be 231 considered worthy to draw near and offer sacrifice to God and profitably receive the Sacrament of My Body. For there is no more worthy offering, no greater satisfaction for washing away sin than to offer yourself purely and entirely to God with the offering of the Body of Christ in Mass and Communion.

If a man does what he can and is truly penitent, however often he comes to Me for grace and pardon, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live”* *Ezek. 33:11. I will no longer remember his sins, but all will be forgiven him
"Madonna of the Book" by Sandro Botticelli
Picture source

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis, Book IV, Chapter 7

The list of sins and failings source is The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis, translated by Robert Knox, Sheed and Ward.

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