Catholic Activity: Examination of Conscience
Here is a helpful examination of conscience, based on the Ten Commandments. Perform a brief examination every night, but go through a more thorough examination before confessing your sins to the priest.
The Commandments of God
- Have I doubted in matters of faith? murmured against God because of adversity? despaired of His mercy? Have I believed in or consulted fortune tellers? Have I taken part in non-Catholic worship?
Have I recommended myself regularly to God? Neglected my morning or evening prayers? Omitted my religious obligations because of human respect? Presumed upon God's mercy in committing sin?
Have I read books or papers opposed to the Church and her teachings? Did I make use of superstitious practices; such as believing in dreams, and charms, and the like? Have I spoken irreverently of persons (priests or religious), places (e.g, the Church), or things (the sacred vessels) which especially represent God?
- Have I used the name of God or the saints with irreverence? Have I sworn (which means calling upon God to witness the truth of what I say) without a good reason, or falsely? Have I cursed (the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing)? Blasphemed (used insulting language to express contempt for God), the saints, or holy things?
- Did I miss Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation? Have I done unnecessary servile work or been responsible for others doing it on these days?
- Have I been obedient to my parents and lawful superiors? Have I shown disrespect toward their God-given authority? Have I deceived them? Have I been a good citizen by voting? Have I shown respect toward aged parents?
Have I used my authority over inferiors properly? As a parent, by good example in the home and by sending the children to a Catholic school? As a person in public office, by promoting the common welfare? As an employer, by being considerate of the employees?
- Have I been the occasion of another's sin through my bad example in word or deed? Have I been guilty of fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, or drunkenness? Did I refuse to speak to others? to forgive them? Did I use provoking language?
- and 9. Did I take pleasure in impure thoughts or desires? Say impure things? Listen to impure conversations? Did I touch others or let others touch me in an impure manner? Commit an impure act alone or with others? Want to look at impure things or pictures? Go to bad places? movies that were bad? Read bad books? Go with impure companions? Teach others to commit sins of impurity?
- and 10. Have I stolen anything? If so, of what value, and did I return the stolen goods? Have I been unjust in buying or selling? Have I damaged the property of others? accepted or kept stolen goods? paid my just debts as soon as possible? Has my daily work merited its pay check? Have I desired to steal anything or to damage my neighbor's property?
- Did I tell lies? Have I been guilty of rash judgment (believing something harmful to another's character without sufficient reason)? detraction (without a good reason, making known the hidden faults of another)? calumny (by lying, injuring the good name of another)?
The Precepts of the Church
- Have I confessed my sins once a year? If not, how long is it since my last worthy confession? Have I received Holy Communion during Easter time?
- Have I fasted according to my ability when obliged to do so by the Church?
- Have I abstained from flesh-meat on the appointed days?
- Have I contributed as well as I can to the support of the Church?
- Have I attempted to contract marriage without the presence of a priest?
- If there anything else of which my conscience feels guilty?
Sins Against the Holy Spirit
- Presuming to gain salvation without meriting it.
- Despair of salvation.
- Resisting truths which have been made known to us.
- Envy of another's spiritual good.
- Stubbornness in sin.
- Final obstinacy in one's sins.
Seven Deadly Sins
- Pride: An unrestrained appreciation of our own worth.
- Avarice or Greed: An immoderate desire for earthly goods.
- Lust: A hankering after impure pleasures.
- Anger: An inordinate desire for revenge.
- Gluttony: An unrestrained use of food and drink.
- Envy: Sorrow over the good fortune of our neighbor.
- Sloth: Laziness to do right, or carelessness to do right and to practice virtue because of the trouble attached to it.
Sins Crying to Heaven for Vengeance
- Wilful murder
- Oppression of the poor
- Cheating laborers of their just wages
Nine Ways of Aiding Another in Sin
- Counseling or advising another to sin.
- Commanding another to sin.
- Provoking another to sin.
- Consenting to another's sin.
- Showing another how to sin.
- Praising another's sin.
- Concealing, remaining silent about, doing nothing to prevent another's sin.
- Taking part in, or enjoying the results of another's sin.
- Defending another's sin.
Activity Source: Our Christian Home by Rev. Joseph A. Fischer, Seraphic Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1954