General Spirituality

Examination of your Conscience!

I take time to thank God for the good things that came into my day. I review the many details of the day in no particular order. For instance, I thank God for sunshine or rain, for getting a chair fixed, for a phone call from a friend, for feeling good all day long, for having the energy to get a job done late in the evening. In this process, I may welcome across some action that I did or some emotion or desire that I entertained for which I cannot thank God, since it was offensive or sinful.

Having thanked God for all the day’s gifts as much as I can, I beg for this further gift: to see clearly and in hope how I am growing more fully alive to God in them and through them.

I then examine carefully what my actions, Omissions, thoughts, desires tell me about my relationship with God and the with myself and others in God. Sometimes, a single event stands out dramatically. For instance: I lost my temper badly; I felt very great joy at a piece of news; I resisted making a decision someone asked me to make; I spend much too long a time on a simple task.

Patiently, I ask myself what my action or attitude meant. Did it embody love of God, or fear or distrust?. Did it suggest that I have gotten overcommitted, and why would I get overcommitted? Did it suggest that I do not approve of my life or the context in which I live?.

At other times, no event stands out, but I might find a pattern emerging in the day; for instance: all day long I felt anxious and worried: every time I saw a certain person, I wanted to have his or her attention; I got things done swiftly and easily; I erupted in anger over little things. Patiently, I ask myself what a pattern means about my belief in God, and my trust of and love of God.

At still other times, the climate of my life might emerge as clearly as the day’s weather. For instance: I have grown very dissatisfied in my work; I am shaking off an old resentment; I am deepening in my awareness of God’s loving gaze on me; I felt confident all day while asking God for something I want a lot. Patiently again, I ask what this climate shows about me and god.

Then, I take what I have learned to prayer, speaking to God and telling God whatever I need to say. I let God surprise me with insight and console me with faith and hope. I bring to God the larger needs that I feel right now: an old resentment that seem unable to shake; an inveterate habit that I badly want to get rid of: a kind of mindless living through the day without thanking and praising my creator. I beg god to teach me and help me accept the teaching.

Finally, I determine to keep my spirit filled with gratitude, and to take steps to get rid of mind-sets that stand between me and my Creator. I set myself to change an attitude, shake off a fear, or grow in some special way. And I offer this larger movement in my life to God my Creator. I set my mind to accept any other change or shift in my person and myself that would come, were God to give me the larger gift I ask for. God is the Master of my life and myself; I place my trust there, not in myself.

By Ignatius of Loyola -adapted by Joseph Tetlow.

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