Examination of Conscience Rubric

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.

Be Grounded in Faith as we Rejoice that He is Near

This Gaudete Sunday calls us to rejoice because the Lord is near. Does your heart rejoice and sing, or are the pressures and burdens of life weighing you down? We can easily become overwhelmed. The weaknesses and sins of life, indeed our own weakness and sin, eat away at the joy and hope God wants us to know. Those who are grounded in their faith and possess deep spiritual lives know that God is near. Realizing this puts life into perspective. We really want to be free from our burdens but do not always know how to achieve this. We keep stumbling and falling. Advent is a time when we can learn to “do life differently,” just like John the Baptist instructed the crowds. Joy and hope are the gifts God offers, not anxiety and despair.

Discern what is of real value in your life

Making straight the path of Christ is not only the vocation of John the Baptist but of every baptized believer. God desires to lead us with His mercy and justice. These are essentials in God’s kingdom and some of the gifts Christ’s future coming will bring. But our world’s systems do not place emphasis on these values. Wanting greater profits, downsizing companies in order to reduce expenses, using others for personal or corporate gain, and valuing institutions over people are just a few of the “values” we encounter every day. We are called to straighten the path to Christ. In a world that places value on things that are counter to our call, how do we respond? We need to learn to discern what is of real value and then take the risk of bringing it into the marketplace.

You can’t pick and choose His truth

We live in interesting times. Life is constantly changing. While this can be exciting on one hand, change also presents challenges. We live in an age of relativism where people can pick and choose the truths that suit them and build their own system of beliefs. While humans certainly have the freedom to choose, losing sight of long-standing universal truths is not such a healthy course. Jesus Christ our King is our universal truth! He is the God who is nonnegotiable, our non-option! In Christ, we know what truth is. He alone points us to God, our true selves, our proper relationships with one another, and the world in which we live. Christ directs us to the poor and vulnerable and teaches us what God’s kingdom is meant to be. Christ is the king who serves others. He gets dirty. He ascends the throne of the cross. We are called to do the same.

Living the Beatitudes

As Pope Francis has reminded us, it is in living the Beatitudes that we find the path to holiness. The Beatitudes are not a list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, they are a road map to finding our way to others and to the kingdom of God. It is when we enter into the human condition with all of its pain and sorrow that we discover again the creative presence of God guiding us to greater wholeness. Being poor in spirit? being meek and humble? mourning our sorrow and losses and walking with others through theirs ? hungering and thirsting for righteousness ? being merciful ? maintaining a clean heart ? pursuing peace ? daily taking up the challenge of the Gospel. All bring us into the mystery of humanity and indeed into the mystery of God. The pathway to our relationships and the blueprint detailing our responsibilities are revealed. Are we ready to roll up our sleeves and get dirty?

What can I do to accomplish the works of God?

What can I do to accomplish the works of God? This is a question every Christian must ask. Ultimately, we are asked to be the light of Christ for others. This calls us to be compassionate, forgiving, nonviolent, generous, concerned for the poor, and welcoming to strangers. These are often contrary to what the world values. We are asked to simplify our lives and become less self-focused so that others can share in God’s creation. We need help in order to fulfill this tall order. The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, which we celebrate today, is the way we are nourished so that we can fulfill this mission.

There Is No Condemnation in Him

Was Jesus so deeply moved with emotion and engulfed with pity for us? We often are sheep without a shepherd who are lured by the emptiness of worldly attractions and superficial desires. We become lost. God, in the depth of His being, is deeply moved by our pain, loneliness, and heartache. God does not judge or condemn. He loves and is mercy itself. He knows firsthand the pain that comes with being lost and alone and desires to teach us about His merciful love. Do we want to be taught? Listen to God’s word and be open to God’s presence in the Eucharist.fr,

What is real?

What does it take to believe that something is real? We live in an age of computer technology complete with things like Photoshop and other programs that can enhance photographs, create realistic images, and mimic artistic renderings. When looking at a picture of something, we find ourselves wondering if what we are seeing is real or just the result of technological creativity. Early believers came to believe because of what they witnessed in these new communities of faith. They saw people authentically living out Jesus’ command to love and to show mercy. What do people witness when they see us in action?

He would do it again

Christ is risen indeed! We have arrived at the penultimate feast on the Church’s calendar, the cause of our joy and our hope. Life has defeated death. Sorrow and suffering do not have the last say. In the resurrection of Jesus we see many reasons to rejoice. Not only has Jesus conquered the specter of visible death, but he restores to us graced life. On Holy Saturday, Jesus descended to the dead and delivered the just souls into heavenly paradise. What are our own Saturday tombs? Jesus has the power to open them all. That is our invitation, this day most of all. May resurrection joy fill your heart, your family, your workplace, and your community. Happy Easter!

The More You Know FAQs

Did you ever wonder why Catholics do these things? Now you know.
  • We make the Sign of the Cross because it is the sign of our salvation.  While we make it, we pray as we should always pray “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and to remind ourselves that we live in and with the Trinity.
  • We use a crucifix (and not just a cross) to remind us visibly of the sacrifice of Jesus.  He offered his flesh and blood for us – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
  • We pray the rosary to meditate on the lives of Jesus and Mary and to ask them to help us to imitate them in the scenes in our lives.
  • We use statues of saints in much the same way that our country uses monuments of our forefathers – to have visible reminders of the heroes of our faith in Christ.
  • We receive ashes at the start of Lent to proclaim a fast (as the Israelites proclaimed a fast through sackcloth and ashes) and to remind us that we are dust (and to dust we shall return).