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YOUR PATH: WordBytes » Spiritual Growth (catalog) » Examination of Conscience using the 10 Commandments » Examination of Conscience based on the 10 Commandments (#4)

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4th Commandment: Honor your father and mother.

Do I still have unconfessed sins from childhood that include dishonoring or disobeying my parents?

As an adult whose parents are still alive, I’m not bound to obey them in the strict sense, but do I show them disrespect? Do I work against them or ignore their good desires?

Have I neglected to express my gratitude to my parents for giving me life? How about for giving me love, or the training that has made me what I am?

Have I dishonored my parents (or anyone) by saying unloving things about or to them? By insulting them? By arguing without trying to understand them?

Have I failed to forgive them for everything that has hurt me?

Have I refused to be generous with them, holding back my time or money?

When did they experience difficulties and I neglected to provide moral support?

What about the other parents of my faith: godparents, pastors, catechists, teachers, siblings, friends, etc.? Have I failed to honor them, treat them well, and give them thanks?

God designed my own marriage to be a sacramental, covenant community: When have I given my spouse less than the best of me? Our relationship should mutually benefit both of us: When have I been more concerned about myself?

Is the procreation and education of children a low priority, taking a back seat to my career, possessions or other things of the world?

Do I give my family members less devotion than I give to my job, my leisure activities or my friends?

Have my demands on children ever been unjust and unfair? Were they inappropriate for the children and for the family as a whole?

Parents are the image of God to their children. What have I done that creates an image of God as something He’s not: distant, unforgiving, uncaring, abusive, undependable, giving love only as a reward, etc.?

What have I done that has kept my home from being conducive to forgiveness, fidelity and service to one another? For example, when did I fail to help with others’ chores, homework, or emotional needs? When did I set a poor example of forgiveness and understanding?

Have I neglected my responsibility to bring prayer and scripture into my home? Or in taking seriously the Christian family’s role in evangelization and service?

Have I encouraged, by example and by what I’ve permitted, individualism over community life? I have, if I’ve allowed a television in every room or other activities that keep my family apart when it’s not necessary.

Have I taught my children, by my example, to be selfish, alcoholic, abusive, too busy for God or each other, liars, or money-worshipers? What other bad behaviors did they learn from me?

If I’m civilly divorced or separated, have I disregarded Church teachings on the Sacrament and permanence of marriage? Have I forsaken the help offered by the Church for reconciliation or for getting an annulment? Have I refused to seek the forgiveness of my spouse for my hatred and anger? God wants me to both forgive and to seek forgiveness, even if my spouse and I remain apart.

Have I neglected my children’s religious education? Have I poorly encouraged participation in Mass or CCD? Have I ignored other opportunities to sponsor their spiritual growth? Have I relied on others to provide most of their training, instead of acknowledging my role as their primary educator?

Have I failed to lead my children to frequent Confession?

Have I discouraged in any way the possibility of my children being called to the priesthood or the consecrated religious life?

How have I held my children back from becoming all that God has designed them to be, including in their self-esteem, talents, relationships with others, and their present or future careers?

Am I so attached to my parents (or anyone) that they come before God in my life?

How well do I honor and respect legitimate civil authorities? All authority to govern comes from God. Have I neglected to vote regularly? To pay my taxes honestly? To serve my country to the best of my ability?

When civil authorities abuse their power, do I ignore it or complain about it, instead of working against this abuse and defending the truth of the Gospel?

Next • 5th Commandment

© 2000 by Terry A. Modica
A printable version is available at the end.

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