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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.

Cry Out to Him in the Confessional

Sinner or Saint?

SAA / 100 Confessions

“Saints believe they are sinners…sinners believe they are saints”

Examination of Conscience for seniors

      Seven deadly sins + virtues
Get straight with God
Don’t block the Holy Spirit
REJOICE!
    Freedom, liberty

Mass
Prepare for the coming of the Lord in the Eucharist

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.

Why do Catholics do that? Part 2

Starting with last week‟s notes on Baptism, here is some more Q & A, this time on Confession. Let‟s call this series, “Why do Catholics do that?”. As we heard on Ash Wednesday, we should move away from sin during Lent. Every one of us should go to Confession during Lent to turn away from sin, receive God‟s mercy and grace, and experience true repentance. Be not afraid!

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Is Confession only about sin? No, it’s primarily about God’s infinite mercy.

The woman caught in adultery: “has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go away, and from this moment sin no more” – Jn 8: 11

Parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15)

I thought only God forgives sins. How can the priest forgive sins?

Jesus has the power to forgive sins. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” – Mt 28:18

Jesus gives the power of forgiving sins to the Apostles (aka the first priests)

“As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” – Jn 20:21-23

God reconciled us to himself through Christ and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 1 Cor 5: 18

Why do I need to confess my sins to a priest? Why can’t I just confess to God privately?

We can be forgiven of venial sins outside of Confession (the Penitential Rite at Mass, Eucharist, sincere Act of Contrition, e.g.). But, forgiveness of mortal sins is reserved for Confession. “There is sin that leads to death.” (1 Jn 5:16). Mortal sins kill our relationship with God and take us out of the state of His grace, which we need to be in order to get to Heaven.

If we are in a state of mortal sin at the hour of our death, we will go to Hell (Catechism of Catholic Church, # 1861). So, Confession restores us to a state of grace, and keeps us out of Hell.

Catholics see that they need a priest with other sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, etc.) and that we can‟t get Sanctifying Grace on our own. So….WHY ARE WE DIFFERENT WITH CONFESSION?

I’m afraid to go to Confession.

If you feel this way, then remember there is always a way.

“It’s been many years.”

  •      Welcome back!

“I forgot how to confess.”

  •      The priest will walk you through it.

“The priest will judge me.”

  •      He goes to Confession, too.

“The priest will tell others my sins.”

  •      He has the “Seal of Confession‟ and can tell no one anything.

“I will forget some sins.”

  •      You’re still forgiven for them.

“I wouldn’t know where to start with my sins.”

  •      Review the Ten Commandments and Seven Deadly Sins

Keep in mind:

  • It is Christ in the Confessional; in persona Christi —whoever hears you, hears me” (Lk 10:16)
  • We hear and know we are forgiven –“I absolve you in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit”
  • Christ’s grace in Confession heals us and gives us the strength to overcome future sins (St Teresa of Calcutta, St John Paul II)
  • The priest can give us advice on how to avoid the sins in the future
  • Confessing on the lips = shows true contrition –as when I sin against a friend; I need to go face to face to reconcile

How do I make a good Confession?

  1. Examination of conscience via Guide to Confession (located in church vestibule)
  2. Act of Contrition
  3. Confession
  4. Do your penance

How often should I go?

  • At least once a year (required)
  • Whenever in mortal sin or think you may be (before Holy Communion)
  • Once a month
    • Recommended by St Teresa of Calcutta and St John Paul II
    • will grow in grace and holiness
    • frequent Confession helps us to “forgive those who trespass against us‟ so that we will be forgiven
    • see our sins as they are (gossip, e.g.) and see ourselves as we are: “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Seven Sins That Kill the Life of Sanctifying Grace

During one of our parish’s Bible studies last week, we discussed sin as one of the themes of today’s readings. Someone raised the question about how to examine your conscience in preparing for Confession. People suggested the Ten Commandments which is correct and used for most guides to Confession (like the one we have in the vestibule of the church). I offered the seven deadly sins as an additional way to examine your conscience – which we shouldn’t just do for Confession but every night as well.

So, as the Church begins the season of Lent in order to repent and move away from sin, here is a list and explanation of the seven deadly sins, as well as the corresponding virtue of each (dummies.com).

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Catholic Church maintains that seven vices in particular lead to breaking one or more of the Ten Commandments. These particular bad habits are called the seven deadly sins because, according to Catholicism, they’re mortal sins — sins that kill the life of sanctifying grace.

Pope Gregory the Great made up the list in the 6th century, and in the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer popularized them in his Canterbury Tales.

Pride

The inordinate love of self – a super-confidence and high esteem in your own abilities also known as vanity. Pride fools you into thinking that you’re the source of your own greatness.

Liking yourself isn’t sinful. In fact, it’s healthy and necessary, but when the self-perception no longer conforms to reality, and you begin to think that you’re more important than you actually are, the sin of pride is rearing its ugly head.

Humility is the best remedy for pride. Catholicism regards humility as recognizing that talent is really a gift from God.

Envy 

Resenting another person’s good fortune or joy. Catholicism distinguishes between two kinds of envy:

  • Material envy is when you resent others who have more money, talent, strength, beauty, friends, and so on, than you do.
  • Spiritual envy is resenting others who progress in holiness, preferring that they stay at or below your level instead of being joyful and happy that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Spiritual envy is far worse and more evil than material envy.

The Church maintains that meekness or kindness can counter envy.

Lust 

Looking at, imagining, and treating others as mere sex objects to serve your own physical pleasures, rather than as individuals made in the image and likeness of God.

Chastity, the virtue that moderates sexual desire, is the best remedy for lust. Chastity falls under temperance and can help to keep physical pleasure in moderation.

Anger 

The sudden outburst of emotion — namely hostility — and thoughts about the desire for revenge. You have no control over what angers you, but you do have control over what you do after you become angry…

Patience, the virtue that allows you to adapt and endure evil without harboring any destructive feelings, is the best countermeasure for anger.

Gluttony 

Choosing to over-consume food or alcohol. Enjoying a delightful dinner isn’t sinful, but intentionally overeating to the point where you literally get sick to your stomach is. So, too, having an alcoholic beverage now and then (provided that you don’t suffer from alcoholism) is not sinful in the eyes of the Church. But drinking to the point of drunkenness is.

Legitimate eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, aren’t gluttony. They’re medical conditions that require treatment and care. Gluttony is voluntary and merely requires self-control and moderation.

Periodic fasting, restricting the amount of food you eat, and abstinence, avoiding meat or some favorite food, are the best defenses against gluttony. (Temperance)

Greed

The inordinate love of and desire for earthly possessions. Amassing a fortune and trying to accumulate the most stuff is greed, sometimes called avarice. Next to anger, envy, and lust, more crimes have been committed due to greed than any other deadly sin.

Generosity is the best weapon against greed. Freely giving some of your possessions away, especially to those less fortunate, is considered the perfect antithesis to greed and avarice.

Sloth 

(sometimes called acedia) is laziness — particularly when it concerns prayer and spiritual life. Sloth is always wanting to rest and relax, with no desire or intention of making a sacrifice or doing something for others. It’s an aversion to work — physical, mental, and spiritual.

Spiritual laziness can only be overcome by practicing the virtue of diligence, which is the habit of keeping focused and paying attention to the work at hand — be it the work of employment or the work of God.