Rather than include an examination of conscience next week during the liturgy, I prefer to give you time to prepare during the week. To that end, let’s consider together a few questions to help us see ourselves in light of God’s mercy and peace. In your preparation, you may consult the 10 Commandments, the two great commandments of Jesus, the corporal works of mercy, and the spiritual works of mercy. For our present purpose, we proceed in a different way. “Come, let us reason together.”
Do you accept your life, your very self, as a gift of God? Are you thankful for who you are, for your family and friends? Are you thankful for what you are able to accomplish in your daily tasks? Are you aware that all that you are and have has come from God—and is returning to God? Are you truly aware that you did not create yourself, nor can you recreate yourself, nor perfect yourself?
Do you seek to enter into God’s peace on a regular basis? How do you do it? What do you do to let go of your worries and concerns and enter into “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding?” Do you regularly seek to “let go and let God?” What are your characteristic ways of avoiding “being still and knowing that I am God?” What are your characteristic escapes from turning your heart and mind to the presence of God? Are you at peace when you are alone and quiet, or do you seek to drown out quiet with noise—such as television, music, entertainment, games, or talking? Do you always have to keep your hands and feet busy, or can you sit quietly with the LORD?
How do you treat those closest to you in life? Are you respectful of their differences from you, or do you seek to make them like you? Can you accept when they have different opinions and beliefs than you have? Do you seek more to serve them, or to be served by your family members and friends?
Whom in your life do you like the least? How do you treat that person? Are you able to show respect, if and when your paths cross? If the other person is a “jerk,” can you let them be a jerk in their own way? (Do we not all have our ways of being jerks at times?)
How often, and in what ways, do you go out of your way to help someone in genuine need? Do you share some time, talents, treasures with the needy? Is there someone in your life who needs time and kindness from you? Do you make an effort to give that person some time, listening, being with them? Do you know that everyone has burdens?
Do you regularly forgive those who have wronged you? Or do you carry grudges? Are you smoldering inside, stinky as a cesspool, or are you more like sweet, clean water? Do you ever ask God to help you forgive and release the neck of one who has done you some wrong?
Are there any ways in which you lie, steal, cheat, defraud, or seek to deceive others? Are you honest and transparent, or do you pretend to be what you are not? If you have stolen from others, have you returned the money, and all that you stole? If you lied, have you come clean? If you have lived by deception, have you truly turned from your evil ways, or do you still live a false life? Do you seek to cause trouble for those who have challenged your wrongful ways? Or do you honor those who did not let you get away with an immature, deceitful, or wicked “lifestyle”? How clean or how corrupt is your soul?
Time is a precious gift. How do you waste time?
Are you mindful of the many ways of centering on yourself? What do you do about it?
“He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will keep it unto life eternal.” “To the upright I will show the saving power of God.” “Come to me, you who labor and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. And you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” “Whatsoever you did not do for the least of my brethren, you did not do for Me.”