Examining our Lives

Last night we had a communal reconciliation at the Jesuit Retreat House where I am offering an Ignatian preached retreat this weekend. Part of the service was an examination of conscience, which is an important part of preparing ourselves for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

There are many ways of conducting an examination of conscience. I thought the one we used last night was worth sharing, as it invites us to think broader than we sometimes do about what we might need to seek absolution for.

The examination was in the form of a prayer for mercy, in which we asked God’s mercy:

for our misuse and destruction of the resources of the earth…

for ways in which we have put our comfort above the needs of others…

for ways in which we have put our sexual needs above the needs of others…

for overindulgence in food and drink…

for neglecting to care for our health and well-being…

for ignoring the needs of the poor and the needy…

for ignoring the needs and sufferings of those closest to us…

for ignoring the inequality of the world…

for neglect of prayer and worship…

for bitter moments, judgments and thoughts…

for failing to be thankful for the good things of life.

If you are like me, there was more than one item on that list that caused you to squirm a bit. More than one that caused you to admit, this is an area in which I can do better.

And so let us together pray: Lord have mercy! And let us together commit ourselves to show greater care for ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and our world.

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