Make straight the way of the Lord

On this 3rd Sunday of Advent, the Church uses the halfway point to Christmas to rejoice. This is called “Gaudete Sunday” which comes from the Latin “to rejoice”. One of the things about which we rejoice, believe it or not, is in the Sacrament of Confession. Yes, we “rejoice heartily in the Lord” for this major means of help to “make straight the way of the Lord”.

Last week, I gave you a little insight into roughly the same line from Isaiah (“make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”) as well as a few questions to examine your conscience. The most basic way to explain what Isaiah proclaims and St. John the Baptist fulfills is to get straight with the Lord. Confession helps us to get straight with the Lord before He comes.

For many of you, it may be that you want to go to Confession, but don’t know what to confess. Typically, we prepare for the Sacrament by examining our consciences with the Ten Commandments. What may be more helpful for you is the following examination of conscience that I found online at www.patheos.com/blogs/kathyschiffer. It uses the seven deadly sins and the four cardinal virtues as a guide. I hope it helps.

Feel free to bring this into the confessional at the Penance Service on Tuesday. See you there!

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

 

Have I practiced the virtue of Chastity?

For example:

  • Have I permitted myself to watch movies or daytime television shows which are not edifying, which depict sexual scenarios, or which advocate for cohabitation or homosexual relationships?

Have I practiced the virtue of Temperance?

For example:

  • Have I indulged my love of sweets or snack foods, to the detriment of my health?
  • Have I continued to smoke heavily, or to consume alcoholic beverages excessively?
  • Have I been immoderate in any activity, such as watching too much TV?

Have I practiced the virtue of Charity?

For example:

  • Have I been a “busybody,” unkind to a neighbor either by my thoughts or by my actions?
  • Have I had a smile for a family member or loved one, or was I critical, hurting someone’s feelings?

Have I practiced the virtue of Diligence?

For example:

  • Have I used my physical limitations as an excuse for laziness?
  • Have I neglected prayer, ignored my friend’s birthday, sat around the house when I might have helped with the dishes?
  • Have I exercised my responsibility to become familiar with the issues, and to vote (by absentee ballot, if necessary) for the candidates who will best protect the values I hold dear?

Have I practiced the virtue of Patience?

For example:

  • Was I unkind (or downright rude) to a telephone caller, impatient with a visitor, crabby when things didn’t go just the way I wanted?
  • Did I complain if someone took me to a restaurant or public place, because we had to wait for service?
  • Did I criticize my doctor, my caretaker, my child, for not serving me better?

Have I practiced the virtue of Kindness?

For example:

  • Was I jealous of the attention paid to someone else, wanting everyone to notice me instead?
  • Did I feel angry because someone else had more money, or better health, or because my grown children did not have enough time to spend with me?
  • Did I compliment someone who looked good, or did I only have harsh words to say?

Have I practiced the virtue of Humility?

For example:

  • Did I accept a compliment graciously but then move on, refusing to keep the attention turned toward myself?
  • Was I willing to let someone else be the center of attention?
  • Did I feel grateful for the kindness of my family and others, and appreciative of my caregiver’s efforts?
  • Did I believe that I had no need of confession, because I never even leave the house?

Lord, help us to recognize the times that we have failed to live a virtuous life—and grant us the grace of true contrition and a resolve to do Your will. Amen.