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Examen of Conscience
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Examen of Conscience

I examine my conscience by looking first of all at what I have done and what l am doing.  For just as love is acted out and not merely talked about, so too are virtue and sin.

In general, I examine my conscience by simply looking back over my day to see what I have done and failed to do.

Did I act as I have wanted to act?
Am I developing ways of acting that I really approve of, or perhaps falling into ways of acting that my own conscience rejects?
Sometimes, I might concentrate on one particular thing I am doing or failing to do.

For instance:

I want to develop the habit of checking my calendar before accepting any invitation, and I know it will take me a certain time to develop that habit.
Or perhaps I have become aware that I am using the name of Jesus Christ as an expletive, and I intend to stop that. In such cases, many find the Examen of Conscience useful as a means.
The Examen of Conscience helps me to check how I have acted during the day—not what its significance is, or how I felt about it, but what I have done or failed to do.  The examen is prayer.  That means my reflection during the examen is not about myself but is about the relationship of my experiences and actions to God's call.

Step 1: - Thanks

Lord, I possess nothing. I owe you everything. My very self is your gift. The deeper my life in you becomes, the more I am struck by your goodness to me. I thank you for your infinite goodness and love...

Step 2: - Light

Only you know me fully, Lord. Only you can give me insight into the mystery I am. Send your Spirit to give me the insight that I need. Send your Spirit to reveal how you have been calling me and how I have responded to your call... 

Step 3: - Review

Lord, as I look back over the persons, events and circumstances of my day, let me see what you have been offering me; let me see where you have been meeting me, challenging me and encouraging me... As I look back over my feelings, thoughts and actions, let me see whether they have been responses to your call...

Step 4: - Hope

Lord, only you can give me the desire and strength to hand my future over to you. I pray for forgiveness... I pray for hope... I pray for renewed vision and sensitivity to your call... I pray to respond to that call with humility, courage and generosity...