The Word Among Us

Lent 2023 Issue

Return to Me

An Examination of Conscience for Lent

Return to Me: An Examination of Conscience for Lent

Every Lent, God calls out, “Return to me with your whole heart” (Joel 2:12). Why? Because he is “gracious and merciful, . . . abounding in steadfast love” (2:13). And where best to experience this mercy than in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? The following questions can help you prepare to do just that. So pray through them, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need his merciful touch. Then turn to the Lord and let him cleanse you and fill you with his abundant grace.

“Return to me,” God says. “Let me bring you into my heart of love.”

  • Does God have first place in my life, or have I allowed other things to become “idols”?
  • Do I pray regularly? Do I express my gratitude to the Lord for his gifts and blessings?
  • Have I been disrespectful of God or taken his name in vain?
  • Have I been faithful in honoring the Lord on the Sabbath by going to Mass?

“Return to me,” God says. “Let me teach you to be merciful.”

  • Do I need to forgive someone? Do I need to ask someone else for forgiveness?
  • Have I gossiped or spoken unkindly about someone? Have I betrayed a confidence?
  • Have I given in to anger, frustration, or impatience with the people close to me?
  • Have I engaged in sexual immorality?
  • Have I cared for the poor and less fortunate?
  • Have I cheated, lied, or acted out of greed?
  • Am I praying for the people I consider my “enemies”?