The Word Among Us

Lent 2011 Issue

Think about These Things

An Examination of Conscience for Lent

Think about These Things: An Examination of Conscience for Lent

We all have philosophies, or approaches to life, that guide how we use our time, how we make decisions, and how we interact with those around us.

You can probably see yours reflected in how you try to raise your children, what you spend your money on, and how you treat oth­ers. Our philosophies form over time through personal experiences, and they're often influenced—for better or worse—by the world around us. Perhaps we never even deliberately stated our philosophies; we simply picked them up as we went along.

In his Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul presents an inspired philosophy of life. He urges us to fill our minds and hearts only with things that are holy, true, and pure-things that will build up our faith. He urges us to act like a sieve, holding on to the ways of God and letting go of every­ thing that's opposed to him. In other words, Paul calls us to take the spir­itual lessons that Jesus taught and put them into practice so that we can shape our philosophies around Jesus.

This Lent, as you prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God is inviting you to reflect on your philosophy of life. Are there areas in your life where you haven't held on to the way Jesus lived? Maybe in the way you treat your family members or co­ workers, or maybe with how much time you set aside for daily prayer. Are there any areas where worldly thinking guides your decisions more than the call to holiness does? Using this passage from Philippians 4, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your examination. Ask him to show you how you can become more like Jesus. As you bring these areas into the light of Christ, you will come to experience more and more of God's lasting, per­fect peace.

"Whatever is true .. ."

  • Are there ways in which I have been dishonest with those closest to me?
  • Are there any areas in which I'm not being honest with myself and the Lord?
  • Am I trying to hide some sin from the Lord? Am I avoiding my need to deal with an area in my life that is out of order?
  • "Whatever is honorable .. ."

  • Am I using my gifts and talents for God's glory?
  • Do my goals in life reflect gospel values, or are they based more on self-centered, worldly ambitions?
  • Do I speak to other people—and about them—in a way that is respectful and straightforward?
  • "Whatever is just ..."

  • Am I trying my best to care for the poor and the unfortunate?
  • Do I treat other people fairly? Have I engaged in improper deals, whether at work or amongst my friends?
  • Have I focused more on the flaws of those around me than on my own flaws?
  • "Whatever is pure .. ."

  • Have I guarded my mind and my eyes against lust?
  • Have I acted impurely, either with someone else or with myself?
  • Am I treating my husband or wife with honor and respect?
  • "Whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious .. ."

  • Are there ways in which my witness to the gospel is tarnished, whether by my speech or my actions?
  • Am I modest in my dress and appearance? Or am I overly concerned with how I look before others?
  • Do I entertain grudges or resentments against someone else? Is there someone I need to forgive?
  • "Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.Then the God of peace will be with you." —Plulippians4:8-9