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Examination of Conscience for Adults

Examination of Conscience for Adults



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Published by David Bawden
Here is a detailed examination of conscience for the use of adults over a year. It divides by various virtues and then determines whether a matter is objectively a mortal sin, venial sin or only a fault.
Here is a detailed examination of conscience for the use of adults over a year. It divides by various virtues and then determines whether a matter is objectively a mortal sin, venial sin or only a fault.

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Published by: David Bawden on Mar 04, 2010
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Examination of Conscience for Adults
A Comprehensive Examination Of Conscience
Based On Twelve Virtues For The Twelve Months Of The Year
Imprimatur: Joseph E. Ritter, St. Louis, April 7, 1959
JANUARY – FAITHIntroduction
Self-examination has always been considered a necessary means of progress in virtue. AllReligious Orders and congregations have provision in their rules for at least one daily examinationof conscience. While the practice is also necessary for lay people, there have been few bookletsoffered to them whereby a systematic examination of conscience might be made at definite times.Lists of sins may be found in prayer books and pamphlets, but frequently they lack completeness,or they make no clear-cut distinctions between mortal and venial sin, or they make no reference tothe helps and counsels that might build up virtue and prevent sin.The object of this booklet is to initiate lay people into the practice of concentrating theirefforts at self-perfection on one virtue a month. It provides a fairly complete list of mortal sins tobe avoided, of venial sins to be corrected, and of helps and counsels that may be practiced. Foreach month a short explanation of the virtue to be practiced is given, an aspiration is suggested forfrequent use, and a prayer is added containing sorrow for the past and resolve for the future.The division of the obligations of the Christian life into twelve virtues is not one that can bemade without some degree of arbitrary arrangement of material. There will be overlapping, somerepetition, and not always a strictly logical inclusion of questions under a given head. The practicalpurpose has been kept in mind, rather than the theoretical; an effort has been made to bring intoeach month reminders of some of the fundamental obligations every Christian has, as these can berelated to given virtues.A warning should be given to souls who are inclined to scrupulosity. Such souls are frequentlydisturbed by reading lists of sins, because they erroneously think themselves guilty, where they are notguilty at all. They should have permission of their confessor before they undertake to make aminute examination of conscience, and in every doubt must obey their confessor blindly. Asidefrom the scrupulous, some persons may find doubts arising from certain questions becausecircumstances not mentioned may confuse particular issues. It is to be remembered at all times thata mortal sin is not committed unless three conditions are present, viz.,sufficient reflection, fullconsent of the will, and a violation of God's law in a serious matter. The mortal sins listedrepresent only objectively serious matter; if one or both of the other conditions necessary for the
commission of a mortal sin be lacking in a particular case, the guilt would not be incurred. In prudentdoubt, a confessor should be asked for a solution.It is recommended that once a week during each month, the examen for that month be readcarefully and thoughtfully. On some occasions this would be best done before confession. Theejaculatory prayer of the month should be said frequently every day.
Faith is the theological virtue, infused by God, by which we firmly assent to all the truthsthat God has revealed to mankind because God cannot deceive or be deceived. Faith is thefoundation of all justification, the beginning of all supernatural virtue, the starting point of sanctification and perfection. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."While faith is infused as a free gift by God it nevertheless is given in strict accordance with thenature of man, and after it has been given it requires intelligent cooperation lest it be weakened or lost.This cooperation means three things:1) Every Catholic must pray for the preservation and increase of his faith. Ordinarily,prayer is necessary for the attainment of any grace from God; since faith is the greatest grace, onewho has received it must pray throughout life for perseverance and strengthening in his faith.2) Every Catholic must strive to be faithful to the obligations imposed through faith. Tooffend God deliberately and repeatedly is to run the risk of some day finding that faith has beenlost through failure to cooperate with God's grace.3) Every Catholic must use his mind both to understand the motives for believing God'sword, which are perfectly satisfactory to human reason, and to know the truths revealed by faith, inwhich nothing contradictory, nothing inconsistent, nothing intellectually incredible is to be found.On the negative side, this means that every Catholic is bound to preserve himself, in so far aspossible, from every influence that would prove dangerous to his faith.Therefore all sins against faith center about either the denial of one's faith, or the neglect of means to preserve and increase it, or the deliberate entrance into occasions that might destroy it.I. Mortal Sins1. Have I denied that I was a Catholic, or openly expressed my disbelief in any doctrine of the Catholic faith?2. Have I affiliated myself, even for a short time, with a non-Catholic sect or religious body? 3.Have I suggested or encouraged doubts about the Catholic faith in the minds of others?4. Have I seriously expressed the opinion that all religions are equally good or equally trueor equally pleasing to God?5. Have I neglected to settle, by reading, studying, consulting, etc., serious doubts about myfaith, when such neglect was evidently leading to a loss of faith?6. Have I, without the necessary permission, read or kept or given to others forbiddenbooks, such as Protestant Bibles, books on the
Index of Prohibited Publications,
books that pretendor profess to disprove the truth of the Catholic faith or that profess to prove the truth of a religioncontrary to my faith?7. Have I, without a serious reason, associated with persons who tried to destroy my faith?8. Have I attended meetings or listened to speeches or sermons, which I knew would destroy orseriously weaken my faith?9. Have I joined a secret society forbidden by the laws of the Church, such as the Masons,the Oddfellows, etc?
10. Have I taken part in a Protestant church service?11. Have I contributed to the advancement of a non-Catholic religious sect or movement assuch?12. Have I consulted a fortune-teller in the serious belief that I could learn something about thefuture, or made others think that I could tell their future when I knew that there was no adequatenatural means of so doing?13. Have I attended a spiritualistic seance?14. Have I planned to marry, or actually pretended to enter the state of marriage, before aminister, or a judge, or a civil magistrate? Have I approved of other Catholics doing this or stoodup for them when they did it?II. Venial Sins1. Have I been irreverent in church and before the Blessed Sacrament? 2. Have I disturbed anddistracted others in their prayers and devotions? 3. Have I kept others from prayer or devotions forsome selfish reason?4. Have I carefully avoided giving any sign that I was a Catholic because I might have beensubjected to some ridicule if I did?5. Have I read only such books and magazines as might be called dangerous, even thoughthey are not strictly forbidden, e.g., books giving false and worldly views of life, novels that arefrothy and barren of any principle?6. Have I seldom, if ever, made an explicit act of faith?7. Have I been slow in trying to banish or overcome doubts against faith?8. Have I been careless and half-hearted in teaching my children to love their faith and to makeacts of faith?9. Have I deliberately passed up direct opportunities of informing others about the Catholicfaith by going out of my way to avoid speaking of it?10. Have I accepted the will of God and believed firmly in His providence in the sorrows of life?11. Have I been irreverent in the use of sacramentals, such as holy water, the Sign of the Cross,etc.?III. Helps And Counsels1. Have I frequently thanked God for my faith?2. Have I prayed for stronger faith every day?3. Have I purchased or borrowed books that could enlighten me further about my faith?4. Have I read any Catholic newspapers or magazines to gain a better knowledge of my faith?5. Have I thought at all about the important truths of faith: death, judgment, heaven, hell? 6. HaveI tipped my hat, or bowed my head, when passing a Catholic church? 7. Have I greeted a priest, as arepresentative of Christ, when meeting one on the street? 8. Have I visited the Blessed Sacrament whenopportunities presented themselves? 9. Have I sacrificed any time or self-interest to attend devotions orsermons not commanded?10. Have I invited non-Catholics to attend a Catholic service with me, or to read anyCatholic literature?11. Have I placed signs of my faith in my home, such as a crucifix, pictures of the BlessedMother or the saints?12. Have I carried a rosary, or worn a medal, or had anything on my person showing my faith?

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