Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ…As a sort of preparation for the Penance Service on Monday, March 8th, you may use this as a sort of examination of conscience and a little quotation from the catechism that I believe is pertinent:
“Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from will, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness, which the Fathers called “animi cruciatus” (affliction of spirit) and “compuctio cordis” (repentance of heart).” (CCC 1431)
Faith: Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily reflection and meditation on the mysteries of the faith? Do I pray daily for an increase of faith? Do I tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life? Have I feared the loss of human respect more than God in witnessing to my faith? Do I defend my faith prudently and charitably when someone says something contrary to what I know is to be believed?
Hope: Do I immediately say a short prayer – an act of hope – when I find myself getting discouraged? Do I violate the virtue of hope by my attachment to things of the world? Do I dwell or worry about my past, or in anxiety about my future, and thus weaken my hope in God’s mercy and love? Are my important and deliberate actions preceded by prayer for divine help? Have I violated hope because of a complacency to pessimistic attitudes?
Charity: Have I told God today – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – that I love him? Have I loved God in the crosses and trials of today? Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly to others? Have I preferred my moodiness to showing God’s love for others today? Do I control uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind? Did I pray for others today? Have I participated in the cross of Christ today, in any sacrifice for someone? Have I violated charity by reducing persons to mere objects and sexual objects, or pawns of my own ambition? Have I violated charity towards others by my own irreverence or immodesty?
Fr. Michael Phillippno
Sometimes all we need is a clean slate and a fresh start.