Is my heart greedy? Do I want more, more, more, instead of a spirit of poverty where I’m content with what I have?
Is my heart set more on earthly possessions than on the true treasures of heaven?
Am I envious, moody or gloomy about what I don’t have?
Do I wish I had a bigger house, a better-paying job or a nicer anything, like those that belong to others? Because of these desires, I’ve failed to set an example of how to be content with what God has given me.
Have I tried to obtain what others own through unjust means, such as stealing or using money that was needed for something else?
Do I wish God had made me to be like Father Diorio or Mother Angelica or anyone else who’s famous? Do I consider myself to be too much of a nobody to do what God has called me to do?
Do I so strongly wish that I lived in a cheaper or warmer or more luxurious part of the country or world, I’m forgetting to appreciate where God has put me now?
Have I ever wished that someone would die so I could receive his or her inheritance? Or that someone would lose his or her job so I could move into it? Or that someone’s calamity would make what he or she owns available to me?
When have I refused to do good to someone who asked for it, because I thought he or she had enough help? Or when did I refuse to give money to someone, thinking he or she already had enough? Or when have I turned my back on someone because I was jealous of that person?
How often have I sought consolation in the abundance of material goods? How much have I rejected God and trusted in possessions more? The reason I don’t have more possessions is because God doesn’t want me to have them right now, and that’s because He’s protecting me from getting into more sin. Do I dislike believing that?
Do I hate myself for my sinfulness? Am I unwilling to forgive myself? Am I jealous of those who seem holier than me? In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I will be set free. God will forget my sins.
Do you feel guilty reading this Examination of Conscience? Does it seem too difficult? Perhaps you feel some resentment and frustration, because the commandments are so imposing.
In the Old Testament, the Laws were imposed upon the people. God was an outside force who demanded obedience. Times have changed. We are a New Testament people. Jesus gave us his Holy Spirit so that the Laws would be written on our hearts. They come from within us, now.
Are you living an Old Testament or a New Testament life? Are you trying to obey God by following his rules, or are you relying on the Holy Spirit to increase your holiness from within?
When we rely on the Holy Spirit, we experience an inborn desire to be holy. The more we allow God’s Spirit to spring up within us like refreshing waters that nourish our lives, the more natural it becomes for us to obey the Ten Commandments — without even thinking much about them!
Remember, it’s impossible to convert from every sinful tendency all at once, no matter how much you desire it. Let the Holy Spirit transform you from within, and be patient with yourself. Purification is a process — sometimes a very long process. God loves you right now, and so should you!
© 2000 by Terry A. Modica
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