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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spiritual practices: examination of conscience

by Ruth Ann Pilney


File:A Prayer for those at Sea by Frederick Daniel Hardy.jpg
Painting by Frederick D. Hardy (Photo Credit:Wikimedia).

As a Christian I am bound to follow my conscience, my inner guide to doing good and to avoiding evil.    Every evening, as the day winds down, I spend about ten minutes at the beginning of Night Prayer to review my day by examining my conscience.  The guide that I have found most helpful lately is called "An Examen."

I like this way of reflecting on my day because it is balanced.  It helps me see both the times I practiced virtue as well as the times I sinned.  This is in contrast to other examinations I have used which emphasize only the sinful acts.  Noticing God's goodness and appreciating His providence is another outcome that has helped me.  I feel a strong impulse to give God glory and praise as a result.

First I remember that I am in God's presence.
Heavenly Father, I know you are with me, looking at me with love and caring for my every need.  

Then I review my day and express gratitude.
Loving Father, thank you for this day.  Thank you for the gifts and graces you have given me.  Thank you for life itself.  Thank you for the people who have graced me and touched me.

Between sentences I pause and recall something for which I am specifically grateful about the day, the graces, the people that God has placed on my path.  Today, for example, I was grateful for the gift of understanding a section of a piece of guitar music that has been a challenge to learn.  I also thanked God for my unexpectedly meeting a friend and her son at the frozen yogurt store.

Read the rest at Ruth Ann's blog  From the Pulpit of My Life

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